Today we give roses, love, and respect to TLC’s 1994 album CrazySexyCool.
TLC’s second album “Crazysexycool” propelled Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas into superstardom. This album is featured in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, it has two songs that reached the top 5 on the Billboard charts, and sold more than 23 million copies.
The intro to this iconic album features two hip-hop greats in Andre 3000 and Phife Dawg on a track called “Intro-lude.” Andre 3000 also spearheads the outro to Crazysexycool, with a rap verse to start Sumthin Wicked This Way comes.
Immediately following Intro-lude comes one of TLC’s most popular and most overlooked songs, “Creep.” The second track of this album “Creep” earned TLC a Grammy for “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.” Weirdly enough, two thirds of TLC disliked this song. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins disliked the track because it was written about her then boyfriend, Delvin, who was a member of the group Jodeci, whereas Left Eye disliked the subject matter of the song.
TLC’s use of boom bap drums dominate on songs like “Case of the Fake People” and “Kick Your Game.” A tip of the cap goes to TLC on both of these songs for sampling songs with similar themes. In the case of “Case of the Fake People,” the breakdown from the O’Jays “Backstabbers” is sampled – the songs have nearly identical messages. As for “Kick Your Game,” the lesser known “Watching You” by Loose Ends helped provide the “watching you, watching me” chorus for TLC.
The producers of this album consist of legendary talents such as; Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, and Organized Noize. This team of producers were doing high level sampling long before computers made sampling easy and accessible.
Now let’s talk about about a song that’s so catchy that it made safe sex cool, Waterfalls. More than 25 years after its release Waterfalls remains a massive hit. This song is played on hip-hop radio, R&B stations, Top 40, and throwback channels, it’s perfect for a BBQ, birthday party, or club.
Listen closely to the background vocals of Waterfall and you’ll hear multi-Grammy award winning vocalist Cee Lo Green.
Waterfalls features no samples, yet has been sampled about a dozen times by artists like Freddie Gibbs, Chris Brown, and Pharrell. This song remains culturally relevant, as it has been streamed more than 200 million times on Spotify, viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube and referenced in recent popular songs like “SHELTER” by Wyclef, Chance the Rapper, and Vic Mensa.
Beyond its behemoth hits, Crazysexycool has fun songs like “Switch” and more sentimental songs like “Take Our Time” – that truly show TLC’s range. This album set the stage for future women to be both pop artists and rappers. As a trio TLC was genre-bending, authentic, and brought a strong female perspective to the forefront of pop music. For all these reasons, we give roses to TLC”s “CrazySexyCool” as an album that deserves to be praised far after its release.
If you have suggestions for who we should give roses to next week, tweet to @WBLS1075NYC or comment below on Facebook, make sure to use the hashtag #GiveRoses.