A Classic Revisited: “No Scrubs” by TLC
I’m always so conflicted when it comes to this TLC staple. On one hand, “No Scrubs” is an undeniable anthem, on the other hand it was played SO much when it first came out, I think I’d be okay if I didn’t have to hear it again for quite some time. With that being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that it is indeed the PRIME go to song to sing when you and your girls are talking about a dude that you are NOT feeling. When I say not feeling, I mean the Brother is exhibiting numerous “Scrub like” tendencies, i.e. “Hanging out the passenger side of his best friend’s ride…” trying to holla at you.
The lyrics are so simplistic, but manage to get right to the point. “If you don’t have a car, and you walking, oh yes son….I’m talking to you.” Chilli left all the guesswork out. He was a “Scrub” and she was letting it be known to the masses. Can’t blame the man for trying though, Chilli ain’t aged a day since 1992.
And yes, there was the song “No Pigeons” to counteract the “Scrub” bashing, but it didn’t have the same kind of bop. They sounded angry, while T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli just sounded melodically unbothered. There’s no real comparison. The ladies definitely won that round.
While “No Scrubs” isn’t necessarily one of my favorite TLC songs, TLC were hands down my favorite group growing up. “Ooooh on the TLC Tip” was the first cassette (yes cassette) I ever owned. When I was a teenager, I even recruited two friends so we could dress up as them for Halloween. Yup, you read that right, 12 and 13 year olds running around with fake drawn colorful condoms taped to us. It was a sight to see. TLC definitely didn’t want “No Scrubs” but they did want self expression and empowerment for women, so if there was ever a group to idolize growing up, it was them. Condoms and all.
“No Scrubs” was released in 1999, surely doesn’t feel that long ago. It was produced by She’kspere and he serves as a songwriter along with Xscape members Kandi Burruss and Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, along with additional writing from Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. It was the first time Chilli sang lead on a song by herself.
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