Released: February 25, 1992
Genre: New jack swing • hip hop • R&B
Label: LaFace Records
Producer: Dallas Austin • Babyface • Jermaine Dupri • Da Funky Bunch • Kayo • Marley Marl • L.A. Reid • Daryl Simmons
Girl groups were extremely popular in the 60s and 70s. We had The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, The Pointer Sisters, Sister Sledge, LaBelle, The Emotions and The Jones Girls just to name a few. The 1990s sort of brought back a reemergence of girl groups that we really didn’t see in the 80s so much. En Vogue kicked off the decade with hits like Hold On & Don’t Go. Then we were introduced to the now legendary group TLC.
Originally named 2nd Nature (later TLC for its founding members (Crystal Jones, Tionne Watkins & Lisa Lopes,) the group eventually managed to arrange an audition with Perri “Pebbles” Reid, whom was a popular R&B singer in her own right and who had started her own management and production company.
Reid eventually arranged an audition for them with local Atlanta label LaFace Records, which was ran by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and her then-husband. L.A. Reid. Jones left the group and was replaced by Rozonda Thomas, who was a backup dancer for Damian Dame at the time. To maintain the group’s moniker of the acronym for the girl’s names, they became T-Boz (Tionne,) Left-Eye (Lisa) & Chilli (Rozonda) and the rest is history. I loved what they each brought to the group: T-Boz brought the group’s lyrics out with her deep & raspy, but addictive lower voice register. Chilli giving the girls vocals and had so much personality & Left-Eye was the rapper. The songwriter. The genius. It was truly a match made from heaven.
The group made their first musical appearances on Jermaine Jackson’s Rebel (With a Cause) & Reversal of a Dog for the soundtrack for The Boomerang soundtrack before officially starting work on their debut album, which was titled Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip.
Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip was released on February 25, 1992 by LaFace records. The title comes the last line of Left Eye’s rap on the album’s lead single Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg. Working with Babyface, Marley Marl, Dallas Austin, Da Funky Bunch, Jermaine Dupri and L.A. Reid, TLC understood the assignment with their debut album.
Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip is a beautiful blend of New jack swing, hip hop & R&B on one album, and at the time, 1992 was the perfect year for the group to drop their first album to the world. 1992 was a wonderful year for music. En Vogue dropped their iconic Funky Divas. We were introduced to the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul..Mary J. Blige with her debut album What’s The 411. Whitney Houston had the world shook with her cover of I Will Always Love You.
& TLC rocked the world with their stunning debut. This album also marked the beginning of the genius that is Dallas Austin. He & Lisa were behind the majority of the songwriting on the album, proving the girls had depth and more to offer as a group. Austin would go on to work with amazing artists like Madonna, Monica, Pink, Janet Jackson, etc..but his best known work will always be with TLC.
TLC was the perfect group to burst onto the scene of the new generation of R&B musicians who were strongly influenced by their hip-hop counterparts and the music showcased how beautifully the genres mix together. TLC’s Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip contained themes of love, sex, loyalty, friendship, female empowerment, body positivity and so much more. TLC’s approach to sex is important to note because at the time, many topics were taboo to touch on so verbally and Madonna was one of the very few artists who used their platform to touch on safe sex and the growing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. TLC also used their platform to do so, with the group wearing condoms on their baggy clothing as an accessory to send the message to youth about safe sex and the dangers of not taking those necessary precautions.
Ooooooohhh… On The TLC Tip peaked at number three and number fourteen on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums, and Billboard 200 charts respectively, selling over six million copies worldwide. The album has been also certified 4x platinum by the RIAA.
Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you TLC’s Ooooooohhh… On The TLC Tip.
Yeah I, I’ve seen those girls
I think they look pretty cool
But, you know, one thing I, I ya know…
That whole attitude about, ya know
Dressing in the baggy clothes
It’s, I dunno I, I’m not into that
I think it’s kinda, kinda lame, ya know?
But, ah, maybe it’s just one of those, you know, those black things
That, that people really get into, ya know?
It’s just a fad, I think
They don’t really look like, ya know, women really
They just look like, like they’re tryna be
Ya know, just something else than what they really are
I dunno, but they’re pretty cute!
Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg
Written by Dallas Austin • Lisa Lopes
The lead single from the album is the remarkable Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg. From a lyrical perspective, the song is about a sexually confident woman who is not ashamed to ask her lover to love on her, while taking time out to promote safe sex..which was something they heavily tackled through their art throughout their career.
The song gave the group their first two ten hits on the pop and R&B charts, peaking at number six and number two respectively. The song contains samples of several songs like School Boy Crush by Average White Band, Jungle Boogie by Kool & the Gang, Escapism by James Brown, Fly, Robin, Fly by Silver Convention, Get Me Back on Time by Wilson Pickett, Take Me to the Mardi Gras by Bob James and I Want to Take You Higher by Sly & The Family Stone.
Shock Dat Monkey
Written by L.A. Reid • Kenneth Edmonds • Daryl Simmons • Lisa Lopes
Shock Dat Monkey is one of the album’s underrated records. Definitely is a new jack swing influenced record about finding a guy that is good enough for a woman.
T-Boz, Left Eye (Playa)]
(Dang, girlie look pretty fly in those
Jeans right there, those tight jeans)
Huh, girlie looks very wrong
Um, real nasty stank
Cootie cutters… (Guys be diggin’ those tight jeans)
That’s what I’m talkin’ about
She need a case of ho remover
This ain’t one cute behind
Just a sprinkle a day
Watch your ho fade away
Has your ho been sprinkled today?
(She can be my ho any day…)
Hat 2 da Back
Written by Dallas Austin • Lisa Lopes • Kevin Wales
Hat 2 Da Back is my SONG!!!!! T-Boz sings lead on this record about the group responding to critics that had something to say about the way they dressed when we were first introduced to them: the baggy attire, graffiti T-Shirts, condoms attached to the clothes and the big colorful hats! Also, the song lyrically speaks about how they’re going to represent themselves in the way they want to and they don’t care what people have to say!
Released as the fourth and final single from the album, Hat 2 Da Back was a top twenty hit for the group on the R&B charts..peaking at number fourteen on the R&B charts! The song contains a sample of Big Ole Butt by LL Cool J and What Makes You Happy by KC and the Sunshine Band.
Das da Way We Like Em
Written by Lisa Lopes • Tionne Watkins • Rozonda Thomas • Marlon Williams
Das da Way We Like Em is definitely a Marley Marl produced record through and through! From a lyrical perspective, the song is an anthem where the girls express what they are looking for in a man..while letting you know the type of women they are.
It’s something so carefree and playful about this song. They were so young and had so much fun recording a record like this. It was the “hey mom!”and shouting out their loved ones for me because of the excitement of this being their very first album.
What About Your Friends
Written by Dallas Austin • Lisa Lopes
What About Your Friends is one of the group’s best songs if you ask me!! The song takes an in depth look at friendships and wondering if they’ll truly be there for you when you need them..or if they are trying to use you. The song is built around a sample of James Brown’s Blues & Pants.
Written by Dallas Austin
His Story is a song with a deep & important message behind it. From a lyrical perspective, the song touches on how society believes men over women. You know, the usual patriarchal bs. The song is dedicated to Tawana Brawley, who made allegations of rape against white men (one who was a cop) in NY 1987.
[Skit: Dalvin, T-Boz]
No you not goin’
I am goin’ to the club, I am goin
No, I’m not havin’ it
I am goin’ to the club wit you and the boys
You not hangin out wit the boys
I ain’t never been I’m goin’…(ring)
I’ma go and get the phone but
I am goin’ to the club (No, I’m not havin’ it)
[On the phone: T-boz, Chilli, Left Eye]
It’s us, get down to the studio quick fast
Hurry you gotta do your part
Yeah, yeah alright I’ll be there
Look, I gotta go to the studio so what’s it gonna be
You gon’ take me or what?
Dang, you gotta go to the studio?
I was gonna take you to the club but ah….
No, why you lyin’?
Look, let me tell you somethin’, just forget that
*bang, whop, punch…*
Don’t nobody have to take that from nobody
I ain’t even wit dat I don’t know who he think I am…
Shit, I’m bout to go, I’m gonna go to the studio alright
I’ma take the car, he ain’t gonna go nowhere
Hey, what you doin?
What you think I’m doin’?
Leaving, leaving, leaving….
Bad by Myself
Written by Jermaine Dupri • Dionne Farris • Terrence Shelton • Lisa Lopes
Bad By Myself is another New jack swing influenced record that is truly underrated in regards to TLC’s music. From a lyrical standpoint, the song is about letting that man know that you don’t need him! You can do the damn thing all on your own okay!
Somethin’ You Wanna Know
Written by Daryl Simmons • Kenneth Edmonds • L.A. Reid • Lisa Lopes • Kayo
Something’ You Wanna Know is definitely one of my favorite TLC songs ever. From a lyrical perspective, the song is about a woman telling her man if he wants to know the facts about something, he should ask her and not listen to rumors.
Written by L.A. Reid • Kenneth Edmonds • Daryl Simmons
Signature songs are truly unforgettable, and we definitely appreciate them around here. Baby-Baby-Baby is a gem. & a classic one at that!! From a lyrical perspective, Baby-Baby-Baby is a song about wanting an emotional connection with someone other than sex. The song was a huge success for the group, peaking at number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart (their first). Also, it peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks, being blocked from the number one spot by Boyz II Men’s End of The Road. The song was certified platinum by the RIAA, and was sampled by Bow Wow for his single You Can Get It All.
This Is How It Should Be Done
Written by Lisa Lopes • Marlon Williams
This Is How It Should Be Done is a song!!!! Another underrated record from the trio. The song contains samples of The Impressions’ We’re a Winner & Eric B. & Rakim’s I Know You Got Soul
Depend on Myself
Written by Dallas Austin • Lisa Lopes
Depend on Myself closes out the album and rightfully so! It is definitely one of my favorite highlights on this record, and the title alone empowers me because I do not ever need anyone to make things happen for me. The song contains a sample of The Bar-Kays’ Son of Shaft.
Yo, this is Left Eye speakin’ for TLC
And as we’re closin’ out here
You need to know that words cannot
Express to you how important safe-sex is to us
What some of us toy around with can easily
Become a deadly weapon
So take it as serious as it is
And remember that protection is the priority
And that is Ooooooohhh…on the TLC tip
TLC served as an inspiration to millions, and their debut was only the beginning to something that is now so legendary and iconic. Ooooooohhh… On The TLC Tip is one of the most enjoyable debut albums ever, and one of the most essential New Jack Swing albums. TLC would go on to greatness with their follow up albums, but the debut still shines through and through 30 years later. That’s the beauty of icons like TLC: time may go on, but the work they’ve done stands the test of time. -MW.