It’s been 10 years since the last TLC album “3D,” and with the tragic death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, it seemed as though they would never record again. However, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas are planning to drop another TLC album as a duo. Are we down to hear it?
As a 90s baby, I adored TLC. From their baggy pants to colorful condoms, they were different from any female group of the time. With hits such as “Ain’t to Proud to Beg,” “Waterfalls,” and “Scrubs,” the group achieved greatness. However, tragedy struck as Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died in a car accident on April 25, 2002. After Left Eye’s death, T-Boz and Chilli did a brief search for someone to make a song with on UPN’s “R U the Girl?” and then disappeared from music. New talks of an album bring up mixed emotions and also raises the question of why now?
The first reason that comes to mind for why T-Boz and Chilli are doing another album is money. In 2011, T-Boz filed bankruptcy for the second time and Chilli had her reality show “What Chilli Wants” to help her find love. Neither of them were making as much as they used to, which is expected once celebrities get older. A VH1 show, tour, and new album can put money back in their pockets and make them relevant to the younger generation.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, T-Boz said this about the album: “We’re going to still sound like TLC, evolving to whatever level we need to be at this time. We’ve always grown throughout the years and have always had our own sound. That’s what works for us and we don’t have to worry about anybody else. When that stops working, maybe we’ll hang up the towel, but that still works. We have to get into the studio and start feeling how we feel. You have to find yourself first and then you find the path and then you have an album before you know it.”
As far as sound, I do not think that they will “still sound like TLC” because a key part of the group is missing. TLC coming out without Left Eye would be like Pepa doing a Salt N’ Pepa album without Salt: it just doesn’t make sense. The dynamic is gone. Even in “3D,” which was finished without Left Eye, you could hear the difference in the material. The group was not perfect, as Left Eye was quoted in wanted to go solo and challenged T-Boz and Chilli to all drop solo albums at the same time. However, since they were never viewed as solo artists, an album without Left Eye cannot be made, or I should say it wouldn’t be widely successful. I’m sure some fans will buy it out of curiosity and support, but other fans loyal to Left Eye will not. I personally will take a listen, but I do not think it will be able to touch the caliber of TLC’s first three albums. Those are classics and when Left Eye passed, the group did as well. T-Boz and Chilli should have either gone solo or moved on to different things. The towel should have been hung years ago.
We’ll see what this new album holds for us, but in the meantime I’ll still bump to “Oooooohhh…On the TLC Tip.”
RIP Left Eye