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25 years ago, three teenage girls from Atlanta changed Hip-Hop forever. Armed with an unapologetic joy for sex, a bold and colorful sense of style and womanhood, and an infectious charm thatĀ only can come from the optimism of youth, TionneĀ “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas blindsided a Hip-Hop industry that had increasingly marginalized women’s voices. And in turn, TLC inspired a generation of young girls and artists, an impact can still be heard today.

When TLC signed with Babyface and L.A. Reid’s LaFace Records in August 1991, a formidable task lay ahead of them. 1991 had not been a strong year from women in the Hip-Hop lane that TLC hoped to infiltrate. Queen Latifah’s Nature of a Sista and MC Lyte’sĀ Act Like Ya Know were the only albums in ’91 that dropped fromĀ female emcees.

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Raunchy lyrics were in full swing at this time, but they were usually confined to albums and not the radio. On their first single, “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,” which also preceded the album by three months, TLC circumvented radio’s strict censorship rules with wit and lyrics that speak to the diversity and depth of women’s perspective.

So when Chilli decides to be submissive for her lover’s attention (“Cause I ain’t too proud to beg for something that I call my own“), it’s balanced by the declarations Left Eyes makes on demanding sexual satisfaction and dictating how she wants it (“Realize the realism of reality treats/ Us Both the same/ Cause satisfaction is the name of the game… Yeah I like it when you (kiss)/ Both sets of lips/ Ooh on the TLC tip.“). And in a unique twist, Left Eye’s verses gives an early example of body positivity for men in her willingness to accept her lover(s) regardless of their physical shortcomings (“2 inches or a yard rock hard or if it’s saggin’…“).

The song proved to be a perfect introduction. …On the TLC Tip dropped on February 25, boasting production from the likes of Jermaine Dupri, Marley Marl, Babyface, and writing from Left Eye and Dallas Austin. The result was a gumbo blend of Hip-Hop, R&B, funk and sprinkles of New Jack Swing’s frenetic energy.

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MEETING OPPRESSION WITH A DEFIANT SMILE

Despite their carefree attitudes, TLC was acutely aware of the confining expectations that patriarchal society has of them. That absurdity is a constant theme in the album via the skits, starting with an intro from a white male who casually dismisses their femininity (“They don’t really look like women…“). In “Intermission II,” it’s T-Boz dealing with a lover who wants to keep her at home while he enjoys the nightlife.Ā The commentary reaches its most serious point on “His Story,” sadly showing that not much has changed for women who seek justice after a sexual assault.

His story over mine his story will be his story
And my story is a waste of time
They’re gonna believe

His story (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
His story (Oww)
They’re gonna believe
His story
His story

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THE FUNKY DIVA ALTERNATIVE

Part of the TLC’s success as a group stemmed from their contrast with the multi-platinum phenomenon that was En Vogue. The four-woman ensemble (Dawn Robinson, Cindy Herron, Maxine Jones and Terry Ellis) embraced the sexy diva imageĀ and possessed polished vocals that allowed each one to sing lead. They set the tone for the decade with 1990’s platinum Born to Sing, which spawned the classic single “Hold On.” As women in their late 20s and early 30s, they had a maturity to their sex appeal and presentation that TLC wisely did not try to emulate.

Instead, TLC occasionally poked fun at the glamorous diva requirements that had come to be expected of subsequent girl groups. The trio most noticeably did so in the video for “Hat 2 Da Back,” briefly donning black cocktail dresses while championing their love of baggy clothes and baseball caps (“Hat 2 da back I gotta kick my pants down real low/ That’s the kinda girl I am…“). Shots at the diva image can also been seen in the intro for “What About Your Friends.”


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A SEAT AT HIP-HOP’S TABLE

…On the TLC Tip proved to be one of the biggest albums of 1992. Although their style and music were rooted in Hip-Hop culture, the message of safe sex, self-love and care-free fun crossed over. The album spanned four singles and eventually went on to sell six million copies. Ironically, Hip-Hop purists were the last group to embrace the trio, likely due to gender bias and their softer presentation in the midst declining militant black nationalism and the emergence of gangsta rap in Hip-Hop. Much to the chagrin of some, the group graced the cover of The Source, back when the publication was the holy grail of Hip-Hop credibility.

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UNMATCHED LEGACY

Today, TLC stands alone as the best-selling girl group in music history with an estimated 65 million records sold. Their influence can be seen in everyone from pop acts like Britney Spears, to subsequent groups like Destiny Child, and those that deftly blended Hip-Hop and pop like Nicki Minaj.

But never forget the journey began in February 1992 with Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip.

RIP Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes

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While we spent yesterday speculating if Nicki Minaj was throwing shots on “Make Love,” Remy Ma was in the booth cooking up this massively disrespectful diss entitled “ShEther.” Remy gets personal about alleged Nicki’s sexual history (Meek Mill, Ebro, Drake, Lil Wayne etc.), the ass modifications, and the biggest low blow regarding Nicki’s brother, who’s facing charges for alleged sexual molestation with an underageĀ girl.

Don’t count Nicki out yet, but we know Remy is battle-hardened for long and drawn-out lyrical warfare. And unlike back when “Ether” dropped, we expect diss responses within a few days at most. Nicki, you threw the first clear shots and now you’re back on the clock.


UPDATE: Apparently, Nicki hasn’t learned from Meek’s social media missteps in the Drake battle. If you’re the queen, get in the booth!

 

 

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The culture had a defining moment last night when Swizz Beatz and Just Blaze squared off for over two hours in an impromptu beat battle. Swizz dominated early with his overall showmanship, but Blaze came on strong late by dropping vintage Dipset (“I Mean It”), Jay Electronica (“Exhibit A”) and Jay Ā (“PSA”). Not to be outdone, Swizz decided to blow everyone’s mind by dropping an unreleased banger featuring Nas, Jay Z,Ā Jadakiss and DMX.

I have no idea whose project this is supposed to be for or how old the track is. Based on Nas’ opening words, the song is presumably called “Bath Salts.” All I know is a CDQ version needs to drop ASAP. The sinister beat, grimy chorus (“This that shit street/ Nigga fuck that weak shit…”), and aggressive NY bars from everyone is exactly what the game needs.

Check out the track below.

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Photo Credit: Manny Montreal/TheFightCity.com

QUEBEC CITY — Lucian Bute’s 14-year career may be over after suffering a one-punch knockout loss to undefeated contender Eleider Alvarez tonight at the Centre Videotron.

Bute, who was making is debut at light-heavyweight, displayed a high activity rate over the first four rounds. An errant head butt benefited Bute dispute a cut nose, as Alvarez received a laceration that streamed blood down his face. The injury seemed to affect Alvarez’s focus and allowed Bute to get off first with straight lefts and inside-out offense.

The success proved to be fool’s gold. Bute lingered too long inside, allowing Alvarez to counter him with an overhand right. The punch froze Bute long enough for Alvarez to floor him with a short right hook. With Bute too dazed to continue, referee Marlon Wright waved the bout off.

As a WBC title-eliminator, the victory puts Alvarez in place to face champion Adonis Stevenson later this year. Stevenson has a voluntary defense against a yet to be determined opponent on April 29.

 

 

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I carry Brooklyn on my shoulders on some duffle shit

This New York

We aintĀ supposed to do that mumble shit

Young M.A is back on the freestyle grind. This time, the BK young gun delivers bars over Jay Z’s “Dynasty” intro. As you can see from the excerpt, she has lines for detractors, New York doubters, and even the recent allegations that she has a ghostwriter.

Young M.A will be touring with 21 Savage through May.

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Photo Credit: Rich/Golden Boy Promotions

Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will conclude their national press tour today in Los. Angeles. The event will be streamed starting at 8 p.m. ET.

 

Gucci Mane ft. Nicki Minaj – “Make Love”

Posted: February 24, 2017 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
Tags: , , , ,

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Gucci Mane and Nicki Minaj are reunited, but it’s the latter that steals the show on “make Love.” In a verse that will surely fuel the rumors of a Nicki-Remy beef, Minaj goes in on a anonymous challenger to the throne.

You see, silly rabbit, to be the queen of rap

You gotta sell records

You gotta get plaques

There’s a few other lines about this unnamed adversary needing to stay in her “bum ass” place. But before we all jump out the window, it should be noted that Remy has said she has no problems with Nicki. And because the talent pool on the mainstream level is so thin for female emcees, every aggressive bar from either Remy or Nicki will be perceived as directed towards each other, for better or worse.

“Make Love” is available now on all streaming platforms.