I'll always remember where I was on April 25, 2002. I woke up excited to hear Eminem's new single "Without Me", the first from The Eminem Show (still my favorite Em record). I remember hearing it and being curious how people would react to it at school.
Yet I also heard sad news that threw off my day. Big Boy from Power 106 announced that Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes had died in a car accident. I remember folks being completely stunned as we were still living off the high of the "Fanmail" CD. I remember Carson Daly and John Norris having T-Boz and Chilli call in to TRL and both were in tears trying to remember her.
(Ironically, there was some TLC drama around that time. Left Eye was supposedly working on a solo album with Death Row and challenged her groupmates to put out solo albums to see whose was better. After she passed, TLC released another album and it just didn't sink in like the previous two. Who can remember them doing a reality show to replace her for a one-time show?)
Coming off the heels of Aaliyah's death a few months earlier, it was another shock for my generation. Just like Aaliyah, Left Eye was in another country, albeit doing charity work. I've never seen the video of her last moments because I felt it'd be too hard. But I am glad that she was able to spend her last days helping others.
I've wondered for years if Left Eye actually sang with the group or did harmonies besides her raps? I still don't know because I'll remember TLC for T-Boz's silky but rough vocals, Chili's smooth sound and of course Left Eye's raps. She was the rebel with an independent streak and I know girls looked up to her. At a time when most females were polished, she was out there just being herself as a free spirit. Now that I'm older, I can respect that.
Besides being remembered for burning down Andre Rison's house, I remember Left Eye's energy when she rapped. One of my favorite verses was on TLC's collab with Goodie Mob "What It Ain't" where she spit double-time over that funky, spaced-out beat.
We don't think of her as a great female rapper but she definitely held her own. Her verse on "Waterfalls" will always be remembered for adding some hope to one of the 90's best songs and her energy won't be forgotten.
But I'll never forget the day when I heard the beginning and end. The beginning of Eminem's greatest year and the end of one of the greatest female R&B groups ever.