On Thursday, Weezer followed up the surprising success of their 2018 cover of Toto’s persistent hit “Africa” with The Teal Album, a collection of 10 faithful covers by the rock band ranging from Black Sabbath (“Paranoid”) to Michael Jackson (“Billie Jean”). The most surprising — and immediate fan favorite — has been the group’s take on TLC’s 1999 megahit “No Scrubs.” Speaking to Rolling Stone, TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas co-signed the ebullient cover.
“When I heard it, I loved it! They did a great job,” Chilli tells Rolling Stone. She hadn’t heard about Weezer’s plans to cover the track until the album dropped and has witnessed a “flood” of opinions from her trio’s fans. “I hope we can perform it together.”
Prior to hearing the fuzzy, alt-rock take on the Fanmail single, Chilli has not exactly followed Weezer. She was as surprised as anyone by the group’s choice to tackle the R&B track amidst mostly classic rock reinterpretations.
“I’m definitely familiar with the group,” she adds, though she laughs off the possibility of TLC ever swapping positions with Weezer and covering one of their songs. “I totally get why any girl would do it, but when guys do it I go, ‘Clearly, they’re not scrubs.’ If they were scrubs, they wouldn’t sing the song with this type of confidence,” she adds. It reflects a similar sentiment to singer Rivers Cuomo’s own explanation for how the band chose to approach the song in the album breakdown on Apple Music.
“I just thought it was one of those songs that’s freakishly popular,” he said. “I was trying to decide which gender perspective to sing it from, then I saw this tweet that said, ‘If you’re a guy covering a song by a girl, you gotta keep the pronouns. For those three minutes, you’re gay.’ So I was like, ‘Cool, let’s try this.’”
She also expressed admiration for the group’s tenacity when it came to singing a Jackson hit like “Billie Jean” for the album. “You gotta be pretty brave to do any of his songs, no matter who you are,” she says, jokingly referring to the late pop star as “the only husband I’ve ever had.”
Prior to Weezer’s cover, Chilli has appreciated Bette Midler’s “Waterfalls” as well as any time Hanson has tackled the girl group’s discography. She’s honored that new life continues to be breathed into all of their music.
“It feels really good because when you’re in the studio working, you hope and pray that you make songs that have longevity. And we have, so that’s a blessing. I’m telling you, I wanna reach out to [Weezer] and try to make this performance happen!”
We’re taking it back to September 7, 1995 where MTV celebrated that years greatest music videos at Radio City Music Hall in New York for their annual Video Music Awards!
Despite Michael and Janet Jackson‘s “Scream” video being the nights most nominated video (with a whopping eleven nominations), it was TLC who stole the show.
With an equally impressive ten nominations for their iconic music video for “Waterfalls”, they went on to win 4 awards that night, including the two most prestigious awards; Viewer’s Choice and Video of the Year.
The girls sealed the deal with a show-shopping medley of their hits from their record-breaking sophomore album, CrazySexyCool. This performance is considered as one of TLC’s greatest performances by fans!
Other celebrities in attendance included Madonna, Boyz II Men, Mike Tyson, Drew Barrymore, Ricki Lake, Lenny Kravitz and the Notorious B.I.G.
Along with the visually flawless concert-based video “Diggin’ On You” (also directed by F. Gary Gray), the CrazySexyMedley acted as an insight of what to expect on their CrazySexyCool world tour, which ended prematurely in 1996.
R&B’s power couple Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, also attended to present TLC with their Video of the Year award, in true Bobby & Whitney style!
TLC went on to earn their 5th moonman in 1999, for their chart-topping smash “No Scrubs”, winning Best Group Video.
List of Nominees and Winners at the MTV Video Music Awards 1995
Video of the Year
TLC – Waterfalls
Green Day – Basket Case
Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson – Scream
Weezer – Buddy Holly
Winner: TLC – Waterfalls
Best Male Video
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – You Don’t Know How It Feels
Chris Isaak – Somebody’s Crying
Elton John – Believe
Lucas – Lucas With The Lid Off
Seal – Don’t Cry
Winner: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – You Don’t Know How It Feels
Best Female Video
Madonna – Take A Bow
Des’ree – You Gotta Be
PJ Harvey – Down By The Water
Annie Lennox – No More I Love You’s
Winner: Madonna – Take A Bow
Best Group Video
TLC – Waterfalls
Green Day – Basket Case
The Rolling Stones – Love Is Strong
Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate Love Song
Winner: TLC – Waterfalls
Best Rap Video
Dr. Dre – Keep Their Head’s Ringin’
Brandy & MC Lyte & Queen Latifah & YoYo – I Wanna Be Down
Salt N Pepa talked to Paper Magazine back in 2015 about their feelings towards TLC during the 90s and the legacy of Left Eye!
Pepa: I remember hearing the group’s music for the first time and we were like “Who are these three new girls coming out?” It was brilliant because they’re R&B; singers, and then you had Lisa who was an emcee. I thought that was awesome, and I knew they were gonna be a hit and make timeless music. Lisa had the “it” factor and she was so free-spirited. That’s what reminded me of Salt-N-Pepa.
Salt: I’m very good at knowing the “it” factor when I see it. When I first saw Beyoncé I was like OMG diva yes! Same thing with TLC and Left Eye in particular. She stood out to me as a brazen, bold, in your face kind of individual. She really was that way in person and it showed on camera.
Their first video “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” struck me, and they also reminded me of Salt-N-Pepa, too. They were young, they were cute, they were about female empowerment, they said whatever they wanted to say. I fell in love with them from “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” so I wasn’t surprised that they went onto mega stardom.
Pepa: Their whole style, their attitude, they were very focused. I just knew this wasn’t going to be a one-hit-wonder. To this day, we still play “Scrubs” in our shows. We have to support each other at all times, support women like us.
Salt: I remember being on the set with them when we did a song together with Pebbles [Perri Reid] — they were Pebbles’ protegées — and we barely spoke. I don’t know if they were dumbstruck or fans, but women sometimes do that; we don’t approach each other in music, which I think is a crime.
Now that I’m a more mature woman, if I see another female celebrity, I’m going to go up to them and say “Hey girl what’s up.” But sometimes you get the I’m-a-bigger-star-than-you vibe, so you have to be open.
So I remember us not talking. Years later, Chilli, T-Boz, Pep, and myself did a photo shoot together. And Chilli brought up a time when we were at the Grammy’s and never spoke. She said, “We really looked up to you guys, and we were hurt that you guys didn’t even come up to us.” I was apologizing; I don’t know why that happens with women. We need to be banding together. I don’t feel [competitive] now as a mother and as a more mature person.
I think as Salt-N-Pepa we can be really instrumental in bringing women together in hip-hop and saying it doesn’t have to be like this. Coming up with Lauryn Hill and Queen Latifah, it wasn’t like that. We were all really cool with each other. We were just a bunch of girls coming up in a male-dominated genre of music and we clicked with each other naturally.
Pepa: Now there’s so much more room for females in the industry with us showing that it could be done and with TLC showing that it could be done.
Salt:Women have been fighting to be heard and to be taken seriously in every area: business, music, it doesn’t matter. The struggle continues. Me and Pep are still finding ourselves in situations that I’m sure Left Eye had found herself in and I’m sure that’s why she was screaming. It was like, “I’m a black woman, and I matter.” Sometimes it may have been perceived as spoiled or like a tantrum, but it was really her saying, “see me, I’m not just an artist,” which is a struggle for me.
I’m a producer, I’m a writer, I compose music, I’m a mom. There are so many aspects to me besides being an artist, but sometimes in this business you have to fight to be seen as anything else. Sometimes you feel like a puppet, and I think that’s how she felt. She was not just a recording artist; she was an artist in many ways. We make up our video concepts, there’s so much stuff that we do that we don’t get recognized or credit for and it’s very frustrating.
I’ll tell a story that Russell Simmons doesn’t like: one time I was standing near him, and he didn’t know what Salt-N-Pepa looked like. Somebody happened to ask him what he thought of those Salt-N-Pepa girls and he was like thumbs down, not gonna last. Years later, he tried to sign us to Def Jam. But that’s how it is.
I always say desperation stinks. It’s a very smelly emotion. When you’re willing to say no, turn down money, and piss people off and not care that they call you a bitch, that breaks barriers. I love what Taylor Swift is doing. I’m not only a fan of the music, I’m a fan of her being a young woman who is going hard for what she feels she’s worth. You have to stand in your worth and be able to walk away.
At the end of the day you keep your self-respect and make a statement to the world. That takes a lot of courage because sometimes you’re wrong, but you still leave with your integrity. I was very immature when I was young. Left Eye did some immature things, but at the end of the day, she was saying, “I’m here, I’m important, I matter,” and that’s what I loved about her. She made her statement, she made her mark, and she’s unforgettable.
Pepa: She was very clear on her direction in life. You will definitely remember Left Eye: the eye-patch, the condoms on the shirt. She was just so alive and in your face with it. She was boisterous and had a good attitude that you need in this male-dominated world. She’ll never get lost.
Salt: To me, her legacy is to live out loud. She was authentic, she was herself, she was unapologetic about who she was. We would all like to be that way and sometimes we shy away from that because we’re afraid of being judged. She was judged, but she was willing to be judged. That’s what I really loved about her.