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Album Review

Crazysexycool was one of those records that defined an era. Few records before it combined hip-hop and classic soul songwriting quite as intoxicatingly or gracefully — the performances and productions were utterly seamless. It would have been difficult to top anyway, but TLC had it doubly bad, since a number of behind-the-scenes problems delayed a sequel for nearly five years. As with any eagerly anticipated record, that follow-up, FanMail, arrived with too many expectations. And initially, it may be disappointing to realize TLC doesn't forge new ground with FanMail, but after a few spins, it settles in that nobody else makes urban soul quite as engaging as this. Not that it was easy to make this record, as the head-spinning list of collaborators indicates. Almost ten producers worked on the record, all trying to replicate the easy, appealing sound of Crazysexycool. And "replicate" is the right word, since there are no new innovations on FanMail, apart from a few lifts from the Timbaland book of tricks. Nevertheless, that may be for the best, since TLC and their army of producers have spent time crafting the songs and productions, turning FanMail into a record that almost reaches the peaks of its predecessor. By the end of the record, it appears that they can do it all — funky, hip-hop-fueled dance-pop, seductive ballads, and mid-tempo jams — and they can do it all well. Other groups try to reach these heights, but they don't have the skills or the material to pull it off quite so well. True, the five-year wait felt interminable, and they're now standard-bearers instead of pioneers, but if takes TLC as long to make a sequel to FanMail, so be it — they have one of the best track records in '90s urban soul.

Customer Reviews

I bought "No Scrubs (with rap)" and it doesn't have Left Eye's rap solo! (Reason for the 1 star)

It also skips in three places. I am very disappointed. I bought the CD years ago, and had always wondered why Left Eye's rap was missing from the disc. A few minutes ago I was happy to see a "with rap" version on iTunes. Now I'm left disappointed and with a dollar wasted. Come on, iTunes, I thought you had your stuff together. That track needs to be deleted.

Hopefully this review clears things up.

If you came here looking for the "Rap Version" of No Scrubs, which is the version used in the video that features Left Eye's verse, it's not here (as you can tell by the other reviews). HOWEVER, it is on their album "Now & Forever: The Hits" which is also on iTunes. That version DOES have Left Eye's rap and is superior. However, if you like No Scrubs, you will like this album. This album is a classic (CrazySexyCool is often considered their best, but I think like this one even more) and should be in your collection. I would recommend buying this album then spending the extra $1.29 on the video mix of No Scrubs. You won't be disappointed.

No scrub (rap)

False! Left Eyes rap is not on it. Wish I had read the review previous to mine. Wasted my money.


Formed: 1991 in Atlanta, GA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s

TLC were one of the biggest-selling female R&B groups of all time, riding a blend of pop, hip-hop, and urban soul to superstardom during the '90s. Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, rapper Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas managed to appeal equally to pop and R&B audiences, blending catchy hooks and bouncy funk with a playful, confident attitude. Initially, their image was equal parts style and spirit, bolstered by a flamboyant, outrageous wardrobe. As time passed, they became equally well...
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