6 Reasons Why You Should Open Up TLC’s ‘Fanmail’ Right This Second

“A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly and is also known as a busta..” 

Yes. We all know and still live by (don’t even try it, boo) the words provided by Ms. Chili on the ultimate triflin’ gentlmen kiss-off anthem, “No Scrubs,” TLC’s Billboard chart bulldozing single which served as the second single from their now two decade old (!!!!!) third studio album, Fanmail.

And of course, you still betta in ’99, Ms. T-Boz and sigh..Ms. Left Eye

A strong, sexy record packed with TLC‘s trademark sass (“If They Knew,” “I’m Good at Being Bad), hardcore life truth (“Unpretty,” and of course, “No Scrubs”), baby makin’ ballads (“Dear Lie,” “I Miss You So Much) and interludes with a diva laced robotic voice named Vic E (hey, gurl!), the globally dominating set proved that our now decade owning legendary music trio still had the chops and chants to get our complete attention…and that they certainly did with this f@#king record. 

However, as much as Fanmail was the TLC comeback record that us late ’90s music kids were thirsty for, it was beyond that and cemented these fierce music women as true creative redemption artists that could withstand the Pebbles rain and so, so much more through the art of music.  

So, here’s 6 reasons why you should rip open TLC’s still standout Fanmail right this very second…and our journey begins on the mail room dance floor with a little “Silly Ho” action….

1.Because we ALL need a little more “Silly Ho” lovin’ in our lives…. Although “No Scrubs” was the behemoth smash number one single that put our lovely ladies back into our CD Player‘d lives (and into a handful of Grammy nods a bit later down the road), it was actually lead buzz single “Silly Ho” that served up the sassy message that TLC was….back. Although there was no video for the T-Boz conquered cut, it’s still just as ready and underrated as ever, so we should all turn this classic Fanmail banger up right now as this is one “Silly Ho” we’ll always get down with on the dance floor. 

2.”No Scrubs” allowed…..ever.  We’ve already made it abundantly clear how we feel about passenger side ridin’ gentlemen who live at home with they mamas,,,,nd yes, son, we’re talking to you. Now, the classic Hype Williams directed video (and big ol’ shout out, Ms. Kandi Burruss for the penmanship!) !!) over-and-over again forever. 

3.Because we’ll never, ever, ever feel unpretty thanks to “Unpretty” 

“You can buy your hair if it won’t grow
You can fix your nose if he says so
You can buy all the make up that M.A.C. can make
But if you can’t look inside you
Find out who am I too
Be in the position to make me feel so
Damn unpretty
(Yeah) I’ll make you feel unpretty too” 

No further statements except to say that TLC‘s Billboard Hot 100 owning anthem about lovin’ ya damn self is still ridiculously relevent in today’s social media driven body focus and culture. Leave it to our groovy gals to make us think once again about some life shit on top of their trademark beats….perhaps that’s why we’ll always love them so much. Oh, most definitely is. Plus, the accompanying “Unpretty” video, though…priceless. Now, everybody watch. 

And we just can’t forget the Junior Mafia slayed “Unpretty” remix….ever. 

4.thank u next, Pebbles….Picture it…June 1994. Lisa done burn the house down (right, Ms. Chili and Mr. Andre Rison?), and our dynamic trio was in a touch of, um, ignited hot water thanks to Ms. Lopes’ legal fees prior to the release of their soon-to-be universe shattering sophomore set, CrazySexyCool.  

Then picture it again a year later (oh, we sooo can), that said sizzling album was certified diamond on the Billboard album charts (ten million stateside…that’s,like, a f#$k of a lot) thanks to a globally gobbling world tour and red-hot classic hits like “Creep,” “Red Light Special,” “Kick Your Game,” and of course, “Waterfalls” The gals’ fame was riding high…and as we all know from that now classic Lifetime biopic..their fortune..not so much. Right, Ms. Pebbles? Sigh..yes. 

If you’ll also remember, the future for TLC’s third set around this time certainly looked bleek while Ms. “Mercedes Boy” was robbing them blind, so when it was announced that Fanmail was going to be released and that they kicked that bitch to the curb and that they we’re finally going to deservedly get theirs…we couldn’t have been more god damn happier.

As much as this five million copies selling set from our fierce gals was a comeback record of all comeback records, it was also a true redemption moment in music time to prove that they could overcome any drama…even the firestorm of shade and drama from Ms. Pebbles. Werk, ladies, werk. 

5.Sigh…miss you, Ms. Lopes……While TLC released Fanmail follow-up (the vastly overlooked and dynamic) 3D in 2002, sadly, it was released a few months after our beloved Ms. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was killed in that tragic car accident while retreating in Honduras. While we could indeed go on and on about her tireless spiritual fight and music legacy (we really, really could), we just have to take a moment to remember that it was this album right here where we last saw all three of our girls working and slaying together for our music lovin’ lives. And it’s for that very splendid reason that we’ll always salute this record and make sure we know every lick and lyric to Ms. Lopes’ signature “Waterfalls” rap and have no more lonely cries..ever. Sigh, miss you boo. 

6.Because it’s just a lil’ TLC teaser for CrazySexyCool’s 25th anniversary…… While there will be never be no party like a ‘Fanmail‘ reminscin’-and-openin’ party, this coveted celebration is just a precursor to the Botox worthy fact that TLC’s freshman record, CrazySexyCool, will be a quarter-of-a-fucking-century-old later this year. Put that in your Pebbles pen and smoke it because we’re going to have revisit all of that mess when the time comes. 

But you know what you should do right now? Listen to TLC’s beautiful, blessed and celebrated third studio set, Fanmail. No further statements…and still don’t even try it, boo. 

For much more crazy, sexy, cool shenanigans like this and so much more, send some fan mail to Philly Mixtape right here and here 

Cover photo courtesy of Pitchfork and not Pebbles 




Philly Groove of the Day/TLC/”Kick Your Game”

What can we really say about TLC‘s music industry shattering sophomore set, CrazySexyCool, besides…..everything. 

Rightfully served to us in late 1994, the (still) roaring record took over our lives thanks in part to ravenous lead single “Creep,” which would only pave the way for future hits “Red Light Special,” “Waterfalls,” and “Diggin on You” to push the album to diamond certification status on the Billboard album chart. But of course, as we all know, TLC’s sophomore success was met with a little bit of bankruptcy drama (damn you, Pebbles) and that pesky moment in time when, to quote Ms. Chili on VH1’s Behind the Music, “Lisa done burn the house down.” (If you don’t know that whole story, look it up right here, right Mr. Rison?) 

Before she headed to ATL to link up with T-Boz and Chili, the dearly departed Ms. Lopes was born and raised right here in Philly, which is certainly the reason why she was the most, um, fiery and outspoken member of the famed girl group. That music hypothesis is evidently clear whenever she showed up to lend her spit sass on tracks, “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,” “What About Your Friends,” and of course, “Waterfalls,” which is without a doubt not just one of the biggest songs of the ’90s, but one of the biggest songs to ever take over mainstream radio. 

While any of the above mentioned TLC grooves still play out to complete perfection (especially on seasonal days like today), personally speaking, “Kick Your Game” off of CrazySexyCool is notably the girls’ best tune that was never officially released as a single. With T-Boz’s raspy vocal flair (“All I see is everybody trying to get with me.” #truth), Chili’s light coos and that undeniable Jermaine Dupri production stamp, plain and f#$king simple–it’s one hell of a track.  But, as she always did, Ms. Lisa steals the show with her counteracting rap prowess in which she plays “that guy” in the club (we all know him), as well as “that girl” who’s not attracted to his Candyland style come ons. 

While there are many things to be said about the music legacy Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes left behind when she tragically left us in 2002 after her tragic car accident in Honduras, we can never forget that she will always have that full on Philly music swagger that will remain as fresh as the day CrazySexyCool took over our headphones. 

With the weather outside today kicking its own game to remind us that summer is truly just around the corner, there’s no better time to roll those life windows down and bump “Kick Your Game” at full trunk blast.






Holiday Groove of the Day/TLC/”Sleigh Ride”

A personal favorite, TLC’s “Sleigh Ride” is just all wrapped up in that classic mid ’90s La Face flavor. Offered up in 1992 as a single from the Home Alone 2 Lost in New York soundtrack, T-Boz, Chili and the dearly departed Left Eye deliver a funky take on the classic jingle of the same name, while serving us with plenty of Santa sass on top of a crisp beat that even the Grinch (hey, Pebbles) would approve of.

Get your giddy up on with TLC by diving ornaments first into the video for “Sleigh Ride” below.