Thunderpuss is the (mainly dance) remix/production team of music producers Barry Harris and Carl Cox. Harris, an openly gay musician and DJ, had worked previously as part of several music groups, including Kon Kan, Top Kat, Killer Bunnies and Outta Control, and had also released several singles himself. Cox, an openly straight musician and DJ, had also worked for years as a DJ and producer, producing a megamix of Paula Abdul songs, among other things, and started his own record label, Interhit Records, with Jeff Johnson.
Harris & Cox originally met in the late '80s and remained friends for years, with Harris eventually joining Cox at Interhit. They didn't start working together as a production team until late 1997, though. Their first project as Thunderpuss was a cover of the song "I Just Wanna Be Your Everything", with Thea Austin, formerly of Snap! performing vocals. They also produced Engelbert Humperdinck's 1998 album The Dance Album, but did not use the name Thunderpuss.
Over the course of almost six years, Thunderpuss had a very successful career as remixers and producers. Their biggest remix success was a hit remix of "It's Not Right But It's Okay" by Whitney Houston. They also produced hit remixes of songs by Mary J. Blige ("No More Drama" & "Rainy Dayz", with Ja Rule), CÚline Dion ("I Want You To Need Me"), Stacie Orrico ("Stuck"), and Kim English ("Higher Things"), among others. They also produced original songs for various artists, including Abigail ("Let The Joy Rise And If It Don't Fit"), Amber ("Taste The Tears"), and Soluna.
Thunderpuss also put out several singles themselves as artists, including "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag", a fully electronic dance cover of the "Pigbag" song, "Stand Up" (with Latanza Waters), and "FMH" (under the artist name Harris & Cox). They split up in late 2003 and both men are pursuing DJ/remix/production work on their own. Harris mashed up songs by Billy Squier and Fischerspooner to create the song "Everybody Wants You To Emerge" for the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy soundtrack, and Cox recently remixed the Michelle Branch single "Breathe".
Cox also found solo success for himself with his own 2000 single, "Phuture 2000".
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Cox also found solo success for himself with his own 2000 single, "Phuture 2000". "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" had a video shot for both the original version and the remix. Harris mashed up songs by Billy Squier and Fischerspooner to create the song "Everybody Wants You To Emerge" for the Queer Eye For The Straight Guy soundtrack, and Cox recently remixed the Michelle Branch single "Breathe". The videos for "Diggin' On You" and "No Scrubs" use remixed or alternate versions of the actual single: "Digin' On You" is presented in "L.A.'s Live Mix", and "No Scrubs" is presented in an alternate version featuring a rap from Left-Eye. They split up in late 2003 and both men are pursuing DJ/remix/production work on their own. All singles had a music video shot for them except for the following: "Silly Ho", "I'm Good At Being Bad", "Damaged", and "Come Get Some". Thunderpuss also put out several singles themselves as artists, including "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag", a fully electronic dance cover of the "Pigbag" song, "Stand Up" (with Latanza Waters), and "FMH" (under the artist name Harris & Cox). TLC was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on September 28, 2002.
They also produced original songs for various artists, including Abigail ("Let The Joy Rise And If It Don't Fit"), Amber ("Taste The Tears"), and Soluna. Fox passed on the show, which was eventually picked up for development by UPN. Blige ("No More Drama" & "Rainy Dayz", with Ja Rule), CÚline Dion ("I Want You To Need Me"), Stacie Orrico ("Stuck"), and Kim English ("Higher Things"), among others. On June 25, 2004, T-Boz and Chili announced that they were pitching a reality television show to Fox Television, where contestants would compete for a chance to record a single and perform in concert with the two of them. They also produced hit remixes of songs by Mary J. In 2003, LaFace released Now and Forever: The Hits, a TLC greatest hits album with a new song, "Come Get Some," featuring Lil Jon and Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz. Their biggest remix success was a hit remix of "It's Not Right But It's Okay" by Whitney Houston. The group, introduced by Britney Spears and Carson Daly, showed a video montage dedicated to Lopes, and went on to perform songs against video footage of Lopes performing the same songs, and wearing the same outfits, that were appearing onstage.
Over the course of almost six years, Thunderpuss had a very successful career as remixers and producers. In June 2003, at Zootopia, an annual concert hosted by New York radio station Z100 held at Giants Stadium, TLC appeared in what was announced to be their last performance. They also produced Engelbert Humperdinck's 1998 album The Dance Album, but did not use the name Thunderpuss. TLC went on tour in support of 3D with just T-Boz and Chili. Their first project as Thunderpuss was a cover of the song "I Just Wanna Be Your Everything", with Thea Austin, formerly of Snap! performing vocals. Its follow-up, "Hands Up," featured only T-Boz and Chili in its video. 3D was only a lukewarm success; the album only sold one million copies and "Girl Talk" (US #28) was the only single to reach the US Top 40; "Hands Up" never charted and a third single, "Damaged," made it to #53. They didn't start working together as a production team until late 1997, though. The first single for 3D was "Girl Talk," the video for which featured T-Boz and Chili alone in live-action segments and Left-Eye in animated segments.
Harris & Cox originally met in the late '80s and remained friends for years, with Harris eventually joining Cox at Interhit. Left-Eye had already completed her vocals for six songs; the remainder were performed by T-Boz and Chilli alone, who gave reverence to Left-Eye on a number of the tracks. Cox, an openly straight musician and DJ, had also worked for years as a DJ and producer, producing a megamix of Paula Abdul songs, among other things, and started his own record label, Interhit Records, with Jeff Johnson. The decision was also made that TLC would be retired after the release and promotion of 3D; Left-Eye would not be replaced. Harris, an openly gay musician and DJ, had worked previously as part of several music groups, including Kon Kan, Top Kat, Killer Bunnies and Outta Control, and had also released several singles himself. It was decided by TLC and Dallas Austin that they would complete the remainder of their fourth album, to be called 3D, which also featured production from Rodney Jerkins and Missy Elliott & Timbaland. Thunderpuss is the (mainly dance) remix/production team of music producers Barry Harris and Carl Cox. Her funeral was held on May 3, 2002, with thousands of fans and admirers in attendance.
Left-Eye was the only passenger not to survive the crash; it was believed that she was not wearing her seat belt. The SUV went into a spin and flipped over, rolling into a ditch. On April 25, she and six others were riding through La Cieba in an SUV when Left-Eye suddenly swerved to avoid hitting an oncoming car. Dallas Austin got TLC back into the studio in early 2002 to begin recording their fourth album, and Left-Eye took her cleansing trips on her free days.
Since about 2001, Left-Eye had spent most of her time-off in self-discovery, including frequent trips to Honduras for spiritual cleansing. She was to be marketed with a darker, more dangerous image than that of pop-friendly TLC, but no material was ever released by Tha Row during Left-Eye's lifetime. In January 2002, she signed a solo deal with notorious label mogul Suge Knight, to record solo albums for his Tha Row Records under the name "N.I.N.A." ("New Identity Non-Applicable," and also slang for a handgun). Perturbed by her label's lack of support, Left-Eye made the album available for listening via streaming audio on her website.
A video was shot for the single "The Block Party" by Hype Williams, but the video, the single, and the album were never released in America, and overseas marketing of the album was only moderate. In 2000, LaFace released Supernova, but only for international markets. The couple's high-profile romance ended in 2003; the breakup was the main subject mater of Usher's Confessions, which became his most successful album. Chili and Dallas Austin separated in 2000, and Chili began a relationship with fellow LaFace recording artist Usher Raymond.
On June 14, 2001, Rison announced that he and Left-Eye were engaged, but the wedding plans were eventually cancelled. Left-Eye and Newman eventually called off their wedding, and Left-Eye began dating Andre Rison once again. Her bandmates, family, and label worried until Left-Eye showed up on the August 14, 2000 broadcast of Inside Edition, stating that she and her new boyfriend Sean Newman had gone looking for wedding rings. For an entire week, no one was able to find or contact her.
Left-Eye did not attend T-Boz's wedding; when she also did not turn up for a scheduled press conference and a family gathering, T-Boz and Chili announced to the press that Left-Eye was missing, in hopes of finding her. In 2000, she released a book entitled Thoughts.., which featured essays and anecdotes from her personal and professional life, and her poetry, including the two poems that were the basis for "Unpretty" and "Dear Lie." She also appeared on the soundtrack for the animated film Rugrats In Paris. They would remain together until 2004, when T-Boz, stating that Mack-10 frequently terrorized her, filed for separation. T-Boz married rapper Mack 10 in August 2000, and the couple had a daughter, Chase, that same year.
After the conclusion of the successful FanMail tour, the ladies took some time off and pursued personal interests. Left-Eye did, however, begin recording her solo album, Supernova. The ladies eventually settled the feud, and The Challenge was never followed through. In its November 28, 1999 issue, Entertainment Weekly ran a letter from Left-Eye that challenged her groupmates to record solo albums and let the fans judge which of the three was the most talented:.
Her contributions to the songs had been reduced to periodic eight-bar raps, and studio session singers often took her place on the background vocals for the groups' songs. During and after the release of FanMail, Left-Eye made it known to the press on multiple occasions that she felt that she was unable to fully express herself working with TLC and Dallas Austin. Like CrazySexyCool before it, FanMail won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album of 1999. The videos for both songs were heavily fetured on MTV and BET, and three more singles received decent radio play without the support of a music video: "Silly Ho," "I'm Good At Being Bad," and "Dear Lie" (a video was shot for "Dear Lie," but it only played overseas).
FanMail was another success for TLC, selling 6 million copies and featuring the US #1 hits "No Scrubs," the first to feature Chili alone on lead vocals, and "Unpretty," an alternative rock-styled song about self-love written by Austin and T-Boz. TLC eventually began working with other producers for the FanMail album, until finally negotiating with Austin, who produced the bulk of FanMail and gave the album a futuristic, more pop-based feel. Left-Eye started her own Left-Eye Productions artist development company and signed Blaque, a TLC-like female R&B/hip-hop trio. During this period, Chili appeared in the independent film HavPlenty and T-Boz recorded the solo single "Touch Myself" for the Fled soundtrack and co-starred in Hype Williams' 1998 film Belly with rappers Nas and DMX.
Austin wanted $4 million and creative control to work on the project, resulting in a stand-off between the producer and the artists. Preliminary work on TLC's third album, FanMail, was delayed when friction arose between the group and their main producer Dallas Austin, who was by this time dating Chili and helping to raise their young son Tron. Reid by this time) was rescinded, and the group was set to re-enter the recording studio in 1997. TLC's contract was renegotiated, their production deal with Pebbitone and Pebbles (who had separated from husband L.A.
Both Pebbitone and LaFace countered that TLC simply wanted more money and were in no real financial danger, resulting in two years of legal hassles before the cases were finally settled in late 1996. They sought to renegotiate their contract wth LaFace--under their 1991 contract, they only received seven percent of the revenues from their album sales-- and to dissolve their association with Pebbitone. They declared debts totaling 3.5 million dollars, much of it because of Lopes' insurance payments citing from the Rison arson incident and Watkins' medical bills, but the primary reason being that the three women were each taking home less than $35,000 a year after paying managers, producers, expenses, and taxes. However, many were shocked when, in the midst of their apparent success, the members of TLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 3, 1995.
CrazySexyCool eventually sold over 11 million copies, becoming one of only seven R&B albums to ever receive a diamond certification from the RIAA, and won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. The album instead focused more on T-Boz's and Chili's contributions and a smoother, more fluid sound, similar to the most successful single from the first album, the US #2 hit "Baby-Baby-Baby." All four singles from Crazysexycool reached the Billboard Top 5, including "Red Light Special," "Diggin' On You," and the #1 hits "Creep" and "Waterfalls." "Waterfalls," an Organized-Noise produced record that featured an old-school soul-based musical arrangement, socially conscious lyrics criticizing drug dealing and unsafe sex, and an introspective rap from Left-Eye, became TLC's biggest hit ever, and its million-dollar music video—at that time the most expensive ever—was an MTV staple for many months. Left-Eye was released from rehab to attend the recording sessions, but the finished album featured significantly less of her vocals. TLC re-entered the studio with Dallas Austin, Dupri, Babyface, Organized Noise, and Sean "Puffy" Combs to record their second album, CrazySexyCool, during the fall of 1994.
Rison eventually reconciled with Left-Eye, and they continued dating on-and-off for most of the next few years. Left-Eye was eventually arrested for and indicted on charges of first-degree arson; she was sentenced to five years of probation and required to enter alcoholism rehabilitation. Although firefighters were called to the scene, the house could not be saved, because of the toxic fumes from the gasoline. The Plexiglas bathtub quickly melted and set the structural frame of the house on fire.
After another fight between Left-Eye and Rison in the early morning hours of June 9, 1994, Left-Eye, tipsy from alcohol, tossed numerous pairs of Rison's newly purchased sneakers into a bathtub, doused them with gasoline, and lit them on fire. Left-Eye was also battling alcoholism, having been a heavy drinker since her early teen years. Their relationship was allegedly filled with violent moments, and Left-Eye filed an assault charge against Rison on September 2, 1993, although Rison later denied battering her. On the TLC Tip, and the two were by 1994 living together in Rison's upscale double-story home.
Left-Eye had started dating Atlanta Falcons American football player Andre Rison shortly after the release of Ooooooohhh... In 1993, TLC played the musical group "Sex as a Weapon" in the New Line Cinema film House Party 3, starring Kid 'n Play. Pebbles released the group from its management deal, but they remained signed to Pebbitone, and Pebbles continued to receive a share of their earnings. At the conclusion of the tour, TLC decided to take more control of their careers and thus informed Pebbles that they no longer wished her to be their manager.
T-Boz would continue to battle her condition, and eventually became a spokesperson for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America in the late 1990s. During TLC's first national tour as Hammer's opening act, the other bandmembers discovered that T-Boz had sickle-cell anemia, an aliment which she kept a closely-guarded secret until she became ill while TLC was touring the southwestern United States. The musical formula was augmented by the girls' brightly-colored videos and curious costuming: each girl wore unwrapped condoms on their clothing (Left-Eye also wore one in a pair of glasses over her left eye), apparently advocating contraception. TLC's lyrics, chiefly written by Left-Eye and Dallas Austin, were playful, female-empowering anthems characterized by Left-Eye's quirky, nasal-toned raps, T-Boz's low-voiced lead vocals, and Chili's powerful vocals and harmonization.
The songs on the album were a blend between hip-hop and R&B, similar to the "new jack swing" sound popularized by producer Teddy Riley in the late-1980s; TLC's sound was dubbed "new jill swing." The album was a success, going double-platinum in a year's time and launching a number of US Billboard Top Ten singles: "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "Hat 2 Da Back," "What About your Friends," and "Baby-Baby-Baby.". On the TLC Tip, was released in February 1992 by LaFace. The first TLC album, Ooooooohhh... Therefore, when Thomas joined, the girls were given nicknames: Watkins became "T-Boz", Lopes "Left-Eye," and Thomas "Chili.".
Besides being an acronym for "tender loving care", the name "TLC" was based upon the first names of the original members of the group: Tionne, Lisa, and Crystal. Reid & Babyface, Dallas Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Marley Marl to produce their first album. The girls were signed to LaFace through a production deal with Pebbitone (with Pebbles taking the role of the group's manager), and almost immediately went into the studio with producers L.A. Reid was impressed with Watkins and Lopes, but felt that Jones should be replaced; within a few months, former Damian Dame backup dancer Rosanda Thomas was brought in to replace Jones.
L.A. Impressed by the girls, Pebbles renamed the group "TLC" and arranged an audition for the group with local record label LaFace Records, run by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Pebbles' husband, Antonio "L.A." Reid. 2nd Nature eventually managed to arrange an audition with R&B singer Peri Reid, professionally known as "Pebbles," who had started her own management and production company, Pebbitone. Her request was eventually answered by Tionne Watkins, a native of Des Moines, Iowa who moved to Atlanta with her family at an early age, and Lisa Lopes, a rapper and singer who had just moved to the city from her native Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with only a keyboard and $750.
In 1991, Atlanta teenager Crystal Jones put out a call for two more girls to join her in a hip-hop/R&B group to be called "2nd Nature". However, the group was just as noted for its controversy as it was for its success. Over a decade of activity and four studio albums, TLC currently holds the title of being the best-selling R&B girl-group of all time, selling 22 million albums, scoring four #1 hits, and crossing over successfully to pop audiences. Before signing to LaFace Records through a production deal with R&B singer Peri "Pebbles" Reid, the group's name was changed to "TLC," and Crystal Jones was replaced by Rozonda "Chili" Thomas.
Originally called 2nd Nature, the group was founded in Atlanta, Georgia by Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, and Crystal Jones. TLC was a hugely successful R&B and hip-hop group that was active from 1991 until 2003. Our Georgia History: Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes (http://www.ourgeorgiahistory.com/chronpop/501). Our Georgia History: TLC (http://www.ourgeorgiahistory.com/chronpop/1327).
"Does Going 'Broke' Mean Artist Really Doesn't Have Any Money?" (http://mbhs.bergtraum.k12.ny.us/cybereng/nyt/rapper01.htm) by Anita Samuels and Diana Henriques, February 5, 1996. 2004: "Come Get Some" (featuring Lil Jon and Sean Paul of the Youngbloodz). 2003: "Damaged" (US #53). 2002: "Hands Up".
2002: "Girl Talk" (US #28). 2000: "What It Ain't (Ghetto Enuff)" (Goodie Mob featuring TLC). 2000: "Dear Lie" (US #51). 1999: "Unpretty" (US #1) (a remix sampling of Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further" was issued to urban markets instead of the original version).
1999: "I'm Good At Being Bad". 1999: "No Scrubs" (US #1). 1998: "Silly Ho" (US #59). 1995: "Waterfalls" (US #1).
1995: "Diggin' On You" (US #5). 1994: "Red Light Special" (US #2). 1994: "Creep" (US #1). 1993: "Hat 2 Da Back" (US #30).
1993: "Get It Up" (US #42). 1992: "What About Your Friends" (US #7). 1992: "Sleigh Ride". 1992: "Baby-Baby-Baby" (US #2).
1991: "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg" (US #6) (a 1992 remix features the first appearance of OutKast). 2003: Now and Forever: The Hits. 2002: 3D. 1999: FanMail.
1994: CrazySexyCool. On the TLC Tip. 1992: Ooooooohhh... Cheryl Jones (1991).
Rozonda "Chili" Thomas (1991–2003). Lisa "Left-Eye" Lopes (1991–2002). Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins (1991–2003).