History, Interview, Music, Review

Kandi: “I Wasn’t Sure ‘No Scrubs’ Would be a TLC Single With Chilli on Lead Vocals Instead of T-Boz”

Kandi Burruss of the 90’s R&B girl group Xscape and most recently known as a long-term cast member on Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta, opened up to Entertainment Weekly this week about some of the mega-hits that she has helped to carve out for other artists during her Xscape downtime.

Along with her group member Tameka “Tiny” Harris, the duo penned a number of Billboard number one hits and Grammy Award winning singles, most notably for their girl group peers, “Bills, Bills, Bills” for Destiny’s Child, and before that, the worldwide record-breaking “No Scrubs” for TLC.

Kandi reflects on the moment record label boss LA Reid got hold of her “No Scrubs” demo, produced by Shek’spere, and immediately wanted it for TLC. “I was like, ‘Cool. Let them have it’, because I always wanted to write for other artists, I just didn’t know how to do it”, Kandi admits.

She then touches on the subtle rivalry the industry placed on girl groups. It was also no secret that Jermaine Dupri wanted himself a group like TLC, and would guide Kandi to sing low like T-Boz. “There’s always that low-key rivalry thing that would go around in the industry. It was like, ‘How are you going to get somebody else to let you write for them, and you’re in a whole other girl group?'”

Despite “No Scrubs” being hugely successful and remains her biggest writing credit to date, Kandi admits that she wasn’t completely sure if the song would make it on the 1999 ‘FanMail‘ album at all.

The main reason for Kandi’s uncertainty was the fact that “No Scrubs” marked the first time the roles had switched on a TLC single, with Chilli leading the vocals on the track instead of the regular formula of T-Boz on lead vocals.

“They were going back and forth on what they wanted to do with the song because that’s the first song that Chilli sang lead on. So that’s why I wasn’t really sure if that song was going to be a first single, or even a single at all. Normally, T-Boz was the lead, so I didn’t know if they were going to keep it”, Kandi said.

LA Reid later ran into Kandi at a party and promised her that he was going to make “No Scrubs” the biggest writing hit of her career. “I’m looking at him like, ‘Okay.’ But in my mind I was thinking, ‘Well Xscape, we’ve had some big records… Whatever you say.’ But he wasn’t lying. He was serious, and he really did.”

Chilli did her thing on “No Scrubs” and helped the song to go down in history as the biggest female anthem in the world, that men can also relate to! The song took on a life of it’s own and Left Eye once called it ‘a national anthem’!

Switching up the vocal format was a smart idea which helped to keep TLC fresh and on top of their game.

Which other TLC songs would you want the girls to have fun with? T-Boz leads on “No Scrubs”? Chilli on “Waterfalls” leads? Let us know!

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