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TLC
TLC, the best-selling female group in music history, has sold over 27 million albums and 9 million singles worldwide in less than a decade and impacted popular culture through music, style and fashion. The group's legacy as acknowledged leaders in the world of hip-hop, pop and R&B continues with the much-anticipated release of 3D, TLC's fourth album. The follow-up to the over nine-million selling 1999 album FANMAIL, the group's latest hit-filled project is a loving tribute by Tionne ¿T-Boz' Watkins and Rozonda ¿Chilli' Thomas to their beloved friend and fellow group member, Lisa ¿Left Eye' Lopes, who passed away in a tragic car accident in 2002. "This is my favorite album," says Chilli. "It sums up everything we've done. The songs are classic and you can hear the unity between us as a group." T-Boz and Chilli felt it was important to go ahead with the album they had started working on with Lisa, who was responsible for the title and blueprinted the visuals for 3D. Left Eye, whose undeniable creative contribution to the group was immeasurable, contributed as a collaborating writer to four of the key cuts on 3D including "Girl Talk," the first single which features a no-holds-barred rap by the much-missed Lopes. Says Chilli: "We knew that Lisa would have wanted us to finish the album. Really, there was no other option or decision to make. Tionne and I knew we had to do this for her because people will forever remember Lisa through us and our music." Adds T-Boz, "It wasn't easy for the two of us because we still had to do half the record and when we were in the studio, sometimes it was very hard. But the hardest thing has been filming the videos without her." Executive produced by Left Eye, Chilli and T-Boz along with Arista Records President and CEO Antonio "L.A." Reid, who has played a pivotal role in the group's career since TLC first signed to LaFace Records in 1991, 3D features some of music's hottest producers including The Neptunes, Missy Elliott and Timbaland, Rodney Jerkins, Organized Noize, Babyface, Darryl Simmons, Raphael Saadiq, Eddie 'Eddie Hustle' Clement and longtime TLC collaborator Dallas Austin. Talking about the basic concept behind 3D, Chilli says, "We wanted this to be a classic TLC record. We wanted people to see the unity between us. We never broke up, in spite of the rumors so this album has been about showing that we're sisters and we love each other. Musically, it is a continuation of what we have done as trendsetters. We kept the formula of working with people like Dallas and Babyface while adding some newcomers to the mix but all with the idea of staying ahead of the game." As evidenced by the cut "Hands Up," longtime collaborators like Babyface come up with something decidedly new and different when working with TLC: "When Babyface really gets to it, he really gets to it!" Chilli laughs. "I told him, ¿this song is going to be one of the big ones!'" As always, TLC delivers its own potent form of in-your-face music with cuts like "Quickie," written by T-Boz and Dallas Austin, the truly funny story of a man who is just a little too ¿premature' in the bedroom. Tionne says, " I love this song a lot and Dallas, who is TLC's main producer, let me write with him on this song which I appreciate. Originally we were going to put a different beat to the song but in the end it just all came together perfectly." Chilli adds, "We were lucky to find a rap from Lisa that really worked for that song." Produced by Timbaland and co-written by Missy Elliott, the track entitled "Dirty" is a slammin' party groove which Chilli describes as "upbeat and fun." In contrast, the haunting "Turntable" is an acoustically-driven melodic track (produced by Jerkins) that is reminiscent of TLC's across-the-board 1994 multi-platinum breakthrough classic "Waterfalls" and has all the earmarks of providing the group with another major international hit; while the standout "Damaged" ¿ another tune written by T-Boz and producer Austin ¿ further stretches TLC's musical boundaries with its decidedly alternative ¿feel.' T-Boz says, "This is probably my favorite song on the CD. The song speaks of my heart because we have all been damaged. I feel very close to the words in this song." Artist in his own right Raphael Saadiq (ex-Lucy Pearl, Tony Toni Tone) provides TLC with another flavorful reality check with "So So Dumb," a straight-ahead warning of the inevitable consequences of infidelity. "That's one of my favorites on the album. It's a great jam about a man who doesn't appreciate his woman," says Chilli. Sexy smooth, "In Your Arms" was produced by the hit team The Neptunes. "They were the last producers to work with us on the album," comments T-Boz. " L.A. (Reid) asked us to go into the studio with The Neptunes and what came out doesn't sound like their usual stuff. A lot of artists speak with producers before they go into the studio and tell them, ¿we want what's current and hot.' We're the total opposite: we're always trying to go to the next level musically and creatively. We don't want what's out there already and we don't want to repeat ourselves. It's about being fresh and new..." Ever since the 1993 release of "Oooooh... On The TLC Tip," their quintuple platinum debut album, TLC has been raising the musical temperature with each successive project. The Atlanta-based trio's first album, an exciting blend of rap, hip-hop and R&B, spawned three Top 10 hit singles, with the memorable "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" leading the pack, followed by "Baby Baby Baby" and "What About Your Friends." The group's 1994 set "CrazySexyCool" provided Left Eye, T-Boz and Chilli with their unprecedented breakthrough into global fame and recognition. With thirteen million in sales, the album achieved platinum or gold status in eighteen countries including the U.K., Japan, Canada, Australia, The Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, New Zealand and Hong Kong, earning the group its first Grammy Award for "Best R&B Album." The chart-topping double platinum single "Creep" nabbed the 1996 Grammy Award for "Best Performance By A Group Or Duo" while the second single, "Red Light Special" was a Top 5 platinum single. However, it was the lyrically thought-provoking "Waterfalls," the third cut released as a single from "CrazySexyCool" that propelled TLC to a new level of success. The groundbreaking accompanying video won four MTV Video Music Awards in 1996 including "Best Video Of The Year," "Best R&B Video," "Best Group Video" and "Viewer's Choice" honors and two Soul Train Music Awards (for Best R&B/Soul Or Rap Music Video and Best R&B/Soul Single). In the wake of the album's amazing chart run, TLC was named "Artist Of The Year" by Billboard magazine, and a fourth single, "Diggin' On You" was a Top 5 platinum best-seller. After touring nationwide, the multi-talented trio - known for supporting a number of important social causes including raising funds in the fight against sickle cell anemia and promoting safe sex (particularly among teens) - began working on their third album FANMAIL with an array of top notch producers including Dallas Austin (who had been involved with both previous albums), and Babyface. Back in 1999, prior to the release of FANMAIL, Left Eye noted, "Some groups have tried to take off from where we left off in 1994 with "CrazySexyCool." We've heard about record companies who have tried to put together groups like us but no one can do it." Proving the point, the much-anticipated CD sold over nine million copies and was certified gold or platinum in twenty-one countries, garnering TLC another Grammy Award for "Best R&B Album." The biggest single to emerge from the critically-acclaimed set was "No Scrubs," a two-time Grammy Award winner (for "Best R&B Song" and "Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group") and double platinum, chart-topping hit. The No. 1 follow-up single "Unpretty" continued the momentum and by 2000, TLC had received another two MTV Video Music Awards, two Soul Train Music Awards, one Brit Award, one American Music Award, two Lady Of Soul Awards and the much-treasured Lady Of Soul Aretha Franklin Award as Entertainer(s) Of The Year. Inspired by the constant support of their vast global fan base, TLC embarked on recording their fourth album in late 2001. Recording sessions continued through 2002 until tragedy struck in April when Left Eye, vacationing in Honduras (her favorite place to escape the pressures of superstardom and a life constantly in the public spotlight) was in a car accident that resulted in her untimely passing. Both T-Boz and Chilli vowed to keep working on the new album, announcing a scholarship fund in Lisa's honor at MTV's Video Music Awards in the summer of 2002. Tionne, in memory, says, "Lisa is a party girl, so this is a party album. A lot of people thought when Lisa passed that we would do a sad album but she was so upbeat and this is an upbeat album in tribute to what she would want us to do". The release of 3D is not only a reminder of the lasting creative contribution Left Eye made but an opportunity for T-Boz and Chilli to continue to blaze new trails in music and style. The album is filled with tracks that show TLC once again raising the musical bar for themselves. Chilli mentions "Over Me," a song "based on a personal experience" she wrote with producer Rodney Jerkins; "Give It To Me While It's Hot," which she says, "is a classic Organized Noize track"; and "Hey Hey Hey Hey," another Jerkins-produced cut "which is basically saying ¿if you want to be with me, you gotta get rid of all the other girls!'" Summing up her feelings about the making of 3D, T-Boz says, "This will be my favorite TLC album. I love it because I can listen to it from beginning to end. On our other albums I like to skip to my favorite tracks, but on this one I love to listen to it from beginning to end." Chilli adds, "I don't think we've ever worked so hard in our lives but we wanted Lisa to be proud of what we did. It has been a really emotional time for Tionne and I. We wanted to find creative ways to include Lisa in all the ways we could, to do the best we could to hang in there and deliver all this music, knowing that Lisa would be smiling down on us."

--Arista Records

--- from the official TLC website

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TLC
Now & Forever
2003

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