By Abby Hassler
“It’s not the last of TLC, just the last TLC album,” TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas explained during a recent in-depth interview. The duo’s final studio album, TLC, arrived June 30, after a 15-year hiatus.
“When we were around and before us, people went and bought albums,” Thomas continued. “Now numbers that we thought were failing numbers a long time ago are winning numbers. That side of the business is very different, and it’s even more political now than ever. It’s a headache.”
Producer Jermaine Dupri told Rolling Stone that during the ’90s and with their final album, TLC made a huge impact on young girls and women, as they were “pre-Aaliyah, pre–Destiny’s Child, pre-Beyoncé.” He added that TLC was “so far ahead” and that before they started making records, “girls didn’t talk about their own situations.”
The duo is particularly conscious of the need for restrained “lyrical content” in pop and hip-hop today. Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins spoke about how it’s easy to “sell sex” and have “promiscuous” lyrics, but they would rather be “the queens of girl power.”
“We want to be seen by the little girls who don’t want to do that,” Watkins said. “We’re living proof that you can keep your clothes on and have a career. You don’t have to take that route unless you choose to do so. People will still accept you.”