It was 15 years today that the music community lost one-third of classic girl group member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC. Alongside Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, the Atlanta trio stormed the scene back in 1991, scoring nine top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100, including four number-one singles “Creep“, “Waterfalls“, “No Scrubs“, and “Unpretty“; not to mention, the group still holds their place as the only female group to receive a diamond certification from the (RIAA) with their 1994 album Crazy, Sexy, Cool
Selling over 65 million records worldwide, Lisa, the rapper in the crew had won a number of Grammy’s and a plethora of other awards throughout their reign, ranking #2 behind the Spice Girls as best girl group in the world. Born in Philadephia, PA Lisa was always a bit controversial, but stood out nonetheless, as she moved from Philly with a keyboard and a dream – little did she know she would make it happen. Between releasing their first album Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip in 1992, alcoholism, and a combative relationship with NFL player boyfriend Andre Rison, around 1993, Lisa would find herself in a bit of hot water as after multiple fights and restraining orders, she would one day decide to toss a number of newly bought shoes of Rison’s into a bathtub of the home of which they shared, dousing it with lighter fluid, therefore setting their house on fire. While getting arrested and charged for first-degree arson, Lopes and Rison would soon reconcile for another seven years.
Between 1994-97, the group would reach a plateau of success with the release of Crazy, Sexy, Cool with hits like “Creep”, “Red Light Special”, “Diggin’ On You”, and “Waterfalls” which brought the group their biggest win, especially with the reflective rap solo presented by Lopes over the socially conscious lyrics of the song. And while winning numerous awards and accolades for that particular album alone, the group would later file for bankruptcy.
From 1998-2001, they dropped their last album FanMail which won them three more Grammy’s, but while all things seemed cool on the outside, Lopes would reveal her irritation with her inability to express herself fully over the tracks made with her group members and decided to do her own thing. She released one album Supernova soon after leaving TLC, which was not as successful compared to the hits she was dishing with her old group members, and was working on a second but was unable to complete due to her passing on April 25, 2002 from injuries suffered in a car accident while filming a documentary in Honduras.
A shock to the world, Left Eye’s death struck a cord, but her memory forever lives on as she was loved by everyone. With many artists throwing her name up throughout their verses before and after her death, in honor of our beloved Left Eye, we give you:
The Top 5 Verses to Reference Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ name in a song.
I rep S.I., the unpretty, word to Left Eye
By Method Man from “Rap Phenomenon” w/ Biggie. Here, Meth shouts out his friend Lisa Lopes and references TLC’s 1999 song, “Unpretty,” as a description of where he grew up in Staten Island, NY..
I’m too proud to beg, I’m sorry Left Eye
If I don’t make it in life, motherfucker I tried
By Kendrick Lamar from “Far From Here”. In Kendrick’s 2009 song, “Far From Here,” he apologizes to Left Eye in a reference to TLC’s single “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg.”
Get me vexed, I do like Left Eye, start an arson
RIP to Phife. Back in 1996, Tribe dropped their song “The Hop.” Some of you may not know this but Left Eye set her then boyfriend’s tennis shoes on fire. Unfortunately, the fire spread and almost burned down the whole house. This is what Phife is referring to.
So I glow like the memory of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez
By The Game in “Truth Rap”
Rest in peace to Left Eye
Michael Jackson, I’ll see ya
Just as soon as I die
Said J. Cole in “She Knows”.
Left Eye seems to always have her name thrown around with the greats of the music and R&B game. This is just a testament to how much of an impact her and her music had on this industry.
Continue to sleep in beautiful paradise Left Eye. We miss you.