R’n’B – nah. TLC – hell to the YES! As a girl growing up in the 90s, there was little chance that the gritty realism of “Waterfalls” and in particular “Unpretty” and “No Scrubs” could escape consciousness without leaving some kind of imprint, no matter the type of music you were into.
T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli were not like other lame-ass girl groups of the same era; there was a rawness to TLC – something neither contrived nor manipulated. They dissed deadbeats and told girls to get a grip; to take charge of their ideals and identity:
A scrub is a guy that think he’s fine and is
Also known as a buster (buster, buster)
Always talkin’ about what he wants
And just sits on his broke ass
No, I don’t want no scrub
Don’t settle. You can buy by hair if it won’t grow, you can by MAC and fix your nose if he says so but:
Why do I look to all these things
To keep you happy
Maybe get rid of you
And then I’ll get back to me (hey)
TLC’s tunes became anthems of female empowerment and the group looked what they sang – like they had been through some stuff, learnt some things and lived to tell the tale. And now, they’ve made a comeback albeit minus a member (Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died in a car accident in 2002), with a fifth studio album, self-titled; a ballsy move that says ‘we are HERE and we are RELEVANT.’ We are.