Interview, Music, News

Jermaine Dupri: “Left Eye & Kris Kross Were The Original So So Def” and Regrets Not Signing TLC!

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The legendary hip-hop producer and So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri took part in T.I.‘s latest podcast episode of ExpidiTIously (April 2) to discuss his career from the very beginning of his early years in Atlanta.

Dupri touches on the moment Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes came into his life as a solo artist from Philadelphia, who had nowhere to stay, so she used to sleep in his closet which had been transformed into a vocal booth. JD had gotten himself a reputation as ‘the dude with all the studio equipment’, which attracted a lot of up and coming artists that were often introduced to him by music mogul Ian Burke.

Lisa and Jermaine began writing songs for Kris Kross, Dupri’s latest teenage rap duo he discovered in a shopping mall, comprised of Chris Smith and Chris Kelly. “Lisa was helping me write these songs [for Kris Kross], and we wrote this song called ‘The Girl Is Mine‘, where I sampled Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney“, JD recalls. “Chris and Chris were arguing over Left Eye, and she rapped to them. This was my mindset of the single. I was like, “This is it, this is the single. Two little boys arguing over this girl. She’s grown, ya’ll little. That concept didn’t work”. The duo weren’t feeling it so the song was scrapped.

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Chilli and Left Eye with DJ Dolemix on the TLC video set “Baby-Baby-Baby” in 1992

Lisa would sometimes even beg for money at the local airport. “She went to Hartsfield Airport every day and posed as one of them kids who needed money for a church to make money”, JD recalls. “She would come back to me and say, “Look at all this money that I got! I made the sign, they give me the money“. She would come back with $200, $400. She figured it out”.

Lisa expressed her creative ideas very early on as she inspired Jermaine to think outside of the box, which helped the fashion of Kris Kross. “She just wanted to make music. She could rap, I like her — mentally she could write. She was talking to me about concepts”, JD says. “I was very intrigued with the fact that she would come up with things that we should do — like, cut your eyebrows off! We had the parts in the eyebrow, and then I had three parts for like a month. I was like, what next? She would say shave the whole eyebrow off and just have one!”

“We’re in this room just trying to think of shit. That’s how the backwards jeans came about. Like, “JD, go get a nose ring, that shit is cold!“. Left Eye was the heartbeat of me trying to do things, her and my conversations and her and Chris and Chris’ conversations with her. In the end, that was the crew — Ian, Left Eye, Chris and Chris and Jermaine. We were the unstoppable team that didn’t have nothing — that was the first So So Def!”

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Left Eye with Xscape members Kandi and Tiny on the set of Xscape “Am I Dreaming” in 1998

A few days before the podcast was released, Jermaine shared an article on his Instagram (March 31) in which he declared his regrets at not taking TLC under his wings at the same time as Kris Kross. “I was only 19 years old at the time and didn’t believe in myself as a person, as someone having the bandwidth to have both artists”, he admits. “I was putting so much energy into Kris Kross, and I was only giving TLC maybe 30 to 40 percent, not even 50 percent”.

“I felt that I was spreading myself thin by trying to provide both of these groups with what they needed to become the successes that they eventually both grew to become”, he continues. “So I eliminated myself from TLC being a group that I actually introduced to the world”. In the meantime, an encounter with Pebbles at a hair salon Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins worked at led to TLC being signed to LaFace Records instead.

Although he wasn’t quite ready to sign TLC in the early 90’s, he continued to play a big role in their sound, producing on their first three studio albums, including favourites like “Switch”, “Kick Your Game”, “My Life” and “Bad By Myself“. Jermaine was also responsible for conditioning T-Boz to sing in her iconic lower register. “Tionne would sing high, and Tionne would sing low”, Lisa explained on MTV in 1995. “But when Tionne sang low, Jermaine called it scruffy and said that is dope, let that be you, your voice, what you’re known for”.

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T-Boz with Jermaine Dupri on the video set to TLC “Baby-Baby-Baby” in 1992

Despite Jermaine having some success with his first girl group Silk Tymes Leather (whose member Dyonna “Diamond X” Lewis went on to become DJ Dolemix for TLC in their early days), and his missing out on signing TLC led him to having luck in the third attempt at working with a girl group, when Ian Burke introduced him to Xscape, who sang at his birthday party and he vowed to sign them. They were the first act on his own label, So So Def, a joint venture with Sony and Columbia which also homed Da Brat, Jagged Edge, 3LW and Bow Wow.

Do you think TLC should have signed to Jermaine’s So So Def label?

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TLC with Teddy Riley, Kris Kross and Jermaine Dupri
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Anniversary, Announcement, Music

Sony Release Classic TLC EP’s On 25th Anniversary of ‘CrazySexyCool’

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CrazySexyCool‘ was released 25 years ago on this day, on November 15, 1994. TLC‘s sophomore album went on to become a diamond-certified album, which was recently certified 14x platinum by the RIAA.

To celebrate the album’s milestone, Sony Music has decided to gift TLC fans with the official digital release of the four major singles lifted from the record-breaking project.

The four EP’s in question are; “Creep”, “Red Light Special”, “Waterfalls” and “Diggin’ On You“. The releases are available to stream on Spotify, and are available for purchase on iTunes.

25 years on and ‘CrazySexyCool’ continues to stand the test of time, remaining a favorite by millions across the world! Those who grew up with the album being the soundtrack to their lives will indeed remember the drama that surrounded the girls at it’s time of release — bankruptcy, arson and rumors of a break-up!

Despite serving time locked away in rehab during the creation of ‘CrazySexyCool’, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes made sure she used her leave time to work on the follow-up to 1992’s break-out hit, ‘Ooooooohhh… on the TLC Tip‘, which included her most iconic rap verse on their most important hit to date, “Waterfalls”.

Sony previously blessed TLC fans back in July 2017 with the release of their EP’s from their debut LP, including the festive release, “Sleigh Ride“, following the release of their final self-titled studio album.

Enjoy the best of the ‘CrazySexyCool’ remixes!

Happy 25th Birthday,  ‘CrazySexyCool’!

Announcement, Appearance, Music, Television

TLC To Headline Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2019

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade 2019 TLC-ARMY.COM

TLC are keeping the festivities high this year! Although they rarely take up gigs during the holiday’s, the girls will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day in style this year!

Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade was announced this week by the U.S. department store chain. Along with the legendary TLC, other stars set to celebrate at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City include Emmy-winning “Pose” actor Billy Porter, Latin singer Ozuna and Grammy-winning performers Black Eyed Peas, Chicago and Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland.

Ciara, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Debbie Gibson, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin and former NASA astronauts Kay Hire and Janet Kavandi also will participate in the 93rd annual parade on Nov. 28.

The special will air at 9 a.m. EST on NBC’s “Today” show.

Others part of the line-up include the cast and Muppets of “Sesame Street,” That Girl Lay Lay, Natasha Bedingfield, Chris Young, NCT 127, Chris Janson and Josh Dela Cruz.

Click HERE for more details about this spectacular event and what to expect at this year’s Macy’s parade!

Will you be tuning in to watch the show on NBC on November 28?
Interview, Music

“Left Eye Could Really Sing Sing”, Says Producer On Her Debut Solo Album

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While most people saw Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes as just the crazy rapper in TLC, many people will know that her talents were much deeper, as showcased on her debut solo album, 2001’s ‘Supernova‘, which she recorded for Arista Records during TLC’s hiatus after the success of 1999’s ‘FanMail‘.

Grammy award-winning mixing engineer Gary Noble worked with Lisa on the project, most notably with Salaam Remi on the album’s first single, “The Block Party“. Gary spoke with Revolt TV about some of his fondest memories of working with the multi-talented Lopes.

“I loved working with Lisa. She was really cool. To be honest, before we worked with her and they told us to go work with her, I was a little apprehensive. I didn’t know what to expect because of all of the media. When she came in, she was dressed down, had fatigues on, a hat on, no makeup, and was like, ‘I’m here. I’m ready. Let’s work.’

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Left Eye’s debut solo album ‘Supernova’

She was a prolific writer and those sessions made me realize she was the main creative force of TLC. She can sing sing, for real. People might write her off as the crazy third member, but she was actually a major creative force. I had a great time working with her.

She was very personable and cool. She was asking questions. When she first was recording, I noticed there were some sibilances and pops in her vocals. So, I adjusted the mic and she asked me, ‘Yo, why are you changing it?’ I told her it’ll help lessen the pops and sibilances.

When I did it and she sang she was like, ‘Oh, this sounds a lot better.’ Instead of me doing it at the boards, I went in and adjusted the mic. It helped her still keep the presence of her vocals, but still have the blast of air from your mouth hitting the mic at an angle instead of straight on. It also made her extend her neck a little bit to help her project her voice.

She gave me the name and phone number for her doctor, Dr. Sebi. She’s the first one who ever told me about him. She was like, ‘Gary, if you ever get the chance, go see him. He’s a great guy. You’re going to love his energy and his spirit.’

When she died, she was actually down there for her annual sabbatical where she goes to get a cleansing. It was sad that she died. She was an extremely talented, personable person.”

Read more about Gary’s studio experiences with other superstars including Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill and Nas.