25 Years of TLC’s “CrazySexyCool.”

Released: November 15, 1994

Label: LaFace Records/Arista

Producers: Dallas Austin, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Organized Noize, Chucky Thompson, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Manuel Seal, Jon-John Robinson, Jermaine Dupri.

Favorites: Creep, Take Our Time, Switch, Waterfalls, Kick Your Game, Diggin’ On You, Red Light Special, If I Was Your Girlfriend, Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes, Let’s Do It Again, Case of the Fake People.

Coming of age albums are needed. We gotta have those albums that shows musical growth and progression. CrazySexyCool was that album for the iconic girl group TLC.

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left-Eye” Lopes & Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas are the best selling American girl group EVER. Their debut album “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip” (1992) sold six million records worldwide and quadruple platinum in the states.

The group began working on their follow up album the following year later, working with frequent and new collaborators Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, Babyface, Sean “Puffy” Combs & Organized Noize.

Recording for the album was difficult due to scheduling conflicts. Lisa burning down her boyfriend at the time’s mansion in 1994 being one of the significant reasons.

“CrazySexyCool” was released on November 15th, 1994 to critical acclaim & commercial success. Selling 23 MILLION records worldwide, “CrazySexyCool” is also certified Diamond by the RIAA, making our girls the first girl group to ever be awarded with such an accolade. CrazySexyCool is one of those timeless albums well appreciate for generations and generations.

Where musicians usually suffer from the “sophomore slump,” TLC debunked those assumptions of being a fad after a successful debut album, with CrazySexyCool. This album showcased their maturity through themes in comparison to their debut. It continued their sex positive advocacy, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, illegal drug trade, optimism & romance.

The album was nominated for six Grammys, winning “Best R&B Album” & “Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with vocals” for Creep.

Creep

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Written by Dallas Austin, “Creep” is from the woman’s perspective in regards to affairs. This song challenged the status quo since women are not always known to get revenge and cheat on their unfaithful partners back. Lisa was strongly opposed to the song, because she felt like it wasn’t the best choice for the lead single, & the lyrical content. She even threatened to wear black tape over her mouth in the music video.

Nevertheless, the song is considered a masterpiece in TLC’s catalog and marked a huge departure from their earlier new Jack Swing influenced work. The R&B classic is influenced by funk, jazz, boom bap and soul.

Kick Your Game

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Written by Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal & Lisa, the song teaches men how to introduce themselves to a lady.

It’s one of the songs that has input from Lisa, due to the limited access she had from leaning the rehabilitation center she was in from the aftermath of the fire incident. Lisa’s verses were reportedly referred to her beau Andre Rison.

Diggin’ On You

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ONE OF THE BEST R&B RECORDS EVER. Diggin’ On You was the final single on the album, and it was best to save the best for last. Written & produced by Babyface, Diggin’ On You is a mellow ballad that has our “cool” girl T-Boz singing lead.

T-Boz is the perfect singer for this record. Her raspy vocals bounces off of the track well and kills it!

Case of the Fake People

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Case of the Fake People is a modern day “Backstabbers” by The O’Jays. Written by Dallas Austin, the song is lead by T-Boz on a edgy hip-hop beat.

Red Light Special

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Red Light Special was written and produced by Babyface, & this quiet storm bop is an ultimate fan favorite. The sultry voice of T-Boz and the coy Chilli snappedddddd!

The Red Light Special single CD featured a B-side that was led by Lisa. The song was not featured on the album, but it’s a favorite amongst TLC fans for the consistency in their more mature sound.

Waterfalls

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The group’s signature song. The socially conscious record tackles on promiscuity, drug trade and violence & the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In fact, it became one of the first number one song to reference the illness in one of its verses. The two discussions in this song plagued the 90s, so the song and the video did the topics justice 100%.

Lisa’s verse on this song is so amazing. The ironic thing is that something she wrote is on her headstone. 🥺

Let’s Do It Again

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Another bop written by Babyface, Let’s Do It Again is one of my favorite songs from our girls!

If I Was Your Girlfriend

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Everyone can’t cover Prince, & do it well. T-Boz did on her cover that was produced by Diddy, Chucky Thompson & Dallas Austin. Her cover is the best thing since sliced bread.

Take Our Time

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Take Our Time is lead by Chilli, & mama came to PLAYYYYY okay! This quiet storm ballad is sexy and beautiful. 🙌🏾

Switch

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Switch samples Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” & tells women to keep the same energy these men give them when they wanna switch up. “Erase, Replace, Embrace, New Face” chants Lisa during the third verse. Left-Eye never lied.

Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes

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The final song on the album features André 3000 before OutKast became another important group on the LaFace label. The song is a perfect song to end the album because it actually shows the mature side of the group. The message in the song speaks volumes and needs to still be heard today.

CrazySexyCool definitely defines our precious girls from TLC. Our late and great Left-Eye was Crazy..in a good way. She was brilliant, bold & exhilarating. Sexy was Chilli. She was beautiful & gave us LOOKS while singing on some of our favorite tracks. Cool was T-Boz to the T. She was the mellow one, with her smooth vocals breezing on the track like butter.

Ah. There will never be another TLC. This album is one you MUST listen to before you die. It is one of the most important R&B albums of all time, & you can still see the influences in today’s music. We love to see it. – MJ ❤️

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