Xscape’s “Traces of My Lipstick”

Released: May 12, 1998

Genre: R&B • pop

Label: So So Def • Sony

Producer: Jermaine Dupri • Joe Thomas • Manuel Seal, Jr • Daryl Simmons • Keith Sweat • Warryn Campbell • Guy Roche


When you think of R&B girl groups in the 90s, Xscape (LaTocha & Tamika Scott, Tameka “Tiny” Harris & Kandi Burruss) are always at the top of the list due to the strength of their harmonies together, as well as their classic records that stand the test of time to this date. By 1998, the group released two successful platinum selling albums Hummin’ Comin’ at ‘Cha & Off The Hook, which had some of their most signature hits like Just Kickin’ It, Understanding, Tonight, Feels So Good, Who Can I Run To. Can’t Hang & Do You Want To.

Xscape’s third studio album Traces of My Lipstick was released on May 12, 1998 through So So Def and Sony. With elements of soul & R&B, Traces of My Lipstick is an album that touches on themes such as love, heartbreak, extramarital affairs.

Originally thought to be the final studio album for the group, Traces of My Lipstick is just one of my favorite albums from the late 90s. The harmonies are truly sickening, with these ladies. Like oh my goodness. The album peaked in the top ten on the Billboard R&B Albums charts and twenty-eight on the Billboard 200 charts respectively.

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you Xscape’s Traces of My Lipstick

All About Me (Intro) featuring Foxy Brown

Written by Jermaine Dupri • Manuel Seal

The All About Me (intro) opens up the album with the legendary Foxy Brown as a guest. The song alludes to being the opener before the subsequent song on this album, and is lyrically telling the story of a woman telling their lover that it’s time to tell their significant other the truth of the affair that’s going on, and leads into the next song.

My Little Secret

Written by Jermaine Dupri • LaTocha Scott • Manuel Seal

My Little Secret was released as the second single from Traces of My Lipstick, and rightfully so because it is a true R&B masterpiece!! From a lyrical standpoint, the song talks about a situationship that is truly discreet and on a sexual level and that they should keep it that way.

The song is the group’s most recent top ten single on the pop & R&B charts, peaking at number nine and two respectively. The song has also been certified Gold by the RIAA, and was sampled by 21 Savage for his 2020 song Secret, featuring Summer Walker.

Softest Place on Earth

Written by Joseph “Joe” Thomas • Joshua Thompson

Do you wanna fly? I can take you high..come ride over these midnight skies.

If you’re looking for heaven’s only door, you got the key baby open me!

Xscape, Softest Place On Earth, 1998

The album follows up with Softest Place On Earth, which I think is one of the group’s best ballads! It’s an amazing ballad about making love to the one you love. Just top tier! & the song was produced and written by fellow R&B crooner Joe! Can’t get no better than that.

The song peaked at number 28 on the R&B charts and was sampled by Twenty88 for their Déjà Vu record!

Do You Know

Written by Jermaine Dupri ∙ Manuel Seal

Do You Know is another record produced by the amazing Jermaine Dupri & Manuel Seal! The uptempo song is lyrically about the singers telling their significant others do they understand what their love and them period is making them fall more and more with them.

One of Those Love Songs

Written by Warryn Campbell ∙ Seth Swirsky

One of Those Love Songs is a record about missing your significant other and telling the listeners to hold on tight to their lovers.

The Arms of the One Who Loves You

Written by Diane Warren

The Arms of the One Who Loves You is a SONG honey! Written by veteran songwriter Diane Warren, the song is the perfect song to let that special someone know that they’re free to chase after their dreams and happiness, but they’ll always be here if you need them. The Arms of the One Who Loves You was released as the lead single from the album on Valentine’s Day 1998, and peaked in the top ten on the pop & R&B charts (and numbers 7 & 4 respectively).

I Will

Written by Jermaine Dupri ∙ Manuel Seal

I Will is definitely one of the album’s gems, and one of the group’s most under appreciated songs if you ask me. Built around a sample of Thug Life’s Str8 Ballin’ (which was sampled by Bootsy Collins’ What’s A Telephone Bill) and an interpolation of Diana Ross’ Upside Down, lyrically the song is about how much you will love someone no matter what the ups and downs were with them.

Your Eyes

Written by Kenneth Edmonds ∙ Daryl Simmons

Your Eyes is yet another gem on the album, with LaTocha singing lead. A perfect R&B record.

All I Need

Written by Leferron Miles ∙ Tamika Scott

All I Need is my favorite Xscape song y’all! A true masterpiece if you ask me because whew. Tiny & Tamika (who co-wrote the song) sing lead on this beautifully done record about how much someone means the world to them and if they left them, they would be nothing.

Am I Dreaming featuring Ol Skool & Keith Sweat

Written by Sam Dees

Am I Dreaming is a cover of the classic Atlantic Starr record of the same name. Produced by Keith Sweat, the song is a collaborative effort from Keith, Xscape and Ol Skool. One thing they did, was THAT. That’s how you pay homage to a R&B classic. The song gave the group another top 5 R&B hit and a top 40 pop hit, peaking at 31.

The Runaround

Written by Daryl Simmons ∙ William Thomas

The Runaround is a great song man! LaTocha and Kandi are on the lead vocals, and make this song about confronting a cheating pos so amazing!

Hold On

Written by Nate Butler ∙ Preston Crump ∙ Sean Hall

Hold On closes out the album (in regards to a full song) with Kandi & Tiny singing lead. Lyrically, the song speaks about how it’s best to slow things down and see how far love can go. That you’re worth the wait you know? a song!

All About Me (Reprise)

Written by Jermaine Dupri ∙ Manuel Seal

All About Me (Reprise) picks up where the intro left off!

The group eventually disbanded after this album and after so many years, this album’s impact in R&B still cannot be touched. Traces of My Lipstick was always one of my favorite albums from Xscape growing up due to the fact that the harmonies and production was stellar period! Xscape has since reunited as a group and it’s unclear if they will release another studio album with all four members, but we always have the classic three albums to appreciate and treasure for another 25 years. -MW.

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