Behind The Song: TLC’s “Waterfalls” + “No Scrubs” + “Unpretty”

by (@sllambe)

Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas sit down with VH1 to talk about the group’s biggest hit, “Waterfalls,” which spent seven weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. As powerful as the song was, it was made iconic by its accompaning music video, which the girls say almost didn’t happen.

“We have to beg L.A., you know, to get the budget,” Thomas says of the music video. It turns out that Clive Davis was not a fan of the video’s concept but after convincing Reid, the girls ultimately got what they wanted. Luckily they did, the video won four 1995 VMAs, including Video Of The Year.

“Waterfalls” was the second to last single from CrazySexyCool before the group went on a four-year hiatus to deal with financial issues.

Once TLC got things back in order, they returned to the studio to record “No Scrubs.” Kandi Burruss and Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, two of the song’s writers, originally wrote the song for their ’90s R&B group, Xscape. Ultimately, Burruss decided the song was a better fit for TLC.

“That’s a fun song to sing and girls love singing that song,” Thomas says of the record. And the energy is clearly there. TLC never felt so fresh and vibrant as they did on that single.

While “No Scrubs” represented a shift in the girls’ sound, nothing was more distinctive than FanMail‘s second single, “Unpretty.”

“No, I wasn’t afraid to go into a different realm of music at all,” Watkins says of the song’s alternative rock vibe. For them lyrical content comes first, telling a story that reflects them as a group and their fans.

“I think it showed people that we could do any type of music,” Thomas says, furthering Watkins’ point. Their instincts proved correct. The song became the group’s fourth song to top the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

In case you missed it, watch the stories behind “Baby-Baby-Baby” and “Creep.” For more on TLC, check out VH1′s coverage for TLC Week.

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