Interview

Salt N Pepa: TLC Were Upset We Didn’t Talk To Them at Grammys

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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.

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TLC in the Pebbles music video ‘Backyard’ featuring Salt N Pepa
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

PaperMag

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Music, Uncategorized

Who is the Best American R&B girl group of all time?

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1995 MTV Video Music Awards Show
Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of TLC (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

R&B songstress Monica today unleashed the never ending debate over who is the best R&B girl group – TLC or Destiny’s Child?!

There were no shortage of girl groups in the ’90s, from En Vogue and SWV to All Saints, Salt’N’Pepa…the list goes on. While the Spice Girls are the top-selling girl group of all time, two other girl groups dominated the U.S. Billboard pop charts in the ’90s and early ’00s: TLC and Destiny’s Child. If you include cultural impact, record sales and legacy, which of the two are the better American girl group?

PERSPECTIVES

TLC is the best-selling R&B girl group and the best-selling American girl group, and at one point, they were the best-selling girl group of all time. Now they rank #3 of all-time best-selling girl groups. VH1 placed them at #12 on its 100 Greatest Women in Music listmeaning they were ranked as the most important girl group of all time.

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Numbers aside, they were crazy (Left Eye), sexy (Chilli) and cool (T-Boz). In other words, they were probably the most relatable yet unconventional girl group ever. They distinctively mixed smooth contemporary R&B and hip-hop with Black girl power, feminism and an unique sense of style, which gave them massive crossover appeal as a mainstream pop act.

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Whether they wanted to know “What About Your Friends”; or they were talking about their… “Baby-Baby-Baby”; or if they were promoting safe sex while proclaiming they “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg”; or if they were to “Creep” on the down low; or told us not to chase “Waterfalls”; or if they felt “Unpretty”; or if they didn’t want “No Scrubs”—TLC not only were an iconic girl group, but among the most iconic musical acts of all time.

 

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Oh, and let’s not forget that after a multi-platform debut album, “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip,” they came back even stronger with a record-breaking, diamond-selling (meaning more than 10 million albums sold in the U.S.) sophomore effort, “CrazySexyCool.” Worldwide the album has sold 23 million albums.

 

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Destiny’s Child is ranked as the most successful girl group of all time, just behind the Spice Girls. Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and crew went through some mega drama and lineup changes before they became DC3 (with Michelle Williams). Regardless, the drama behind the scenes didn’t stop the group from dominating the charts with their female anthems.

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Whether if they were telling you “No, No, No;” or asking if you are capable of paying “Bills, Bills, Bills”; or if they were asking you to “Say My Name” if no one is around you; or if they said throw your hands up if you’re an “Independent Woman”; or if they shouted they were a “Survivor” (as a group); or if they were showing off just how “Bootylicious” they are; or if they told you to make them “Lose My Breath”Destiny’s Child dominated the late ’90s, and early-to-mid ’00s with their anthems about female empowerment. There hasn’t been a girl group like them ever since!

VOTE for TLC HERE!