Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25: Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC died on this date in 2002...

... she was 30 years-old when she died.

Lisa Nicole Lopes  - better known by her stage name Left Eye - was a member of the R&B girl group TLC and had embarked on a solo career. Lopes contributed her self-written raps to many of TLC's hit singles, including "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg," "What About Your Friends," "Hat 2 da Back," "No Scrubs," "Waterfalls," and "Girl Talk."

TLC started off as a female trio called Second Nature. The group was renamed TLC — derived from the first initials of its then three members — Tionne, Lisa and Crystal. Things didn't work out with Crystal Jones, and TLC's manager Perri "Pebbles" Reid brought in Damian Dame backup dancer Rozonda Thomas as a third member of the group.

To keep the "initial" theme of the band's name, Rozonda needed a name starting with C, and so became Chilli, which was coined by Lopes. Band mate Tionne Watkins became T-Boz, while Lopes was renamed Left Eye. Lopes celebrated her nickname by wearing a black mark; often a wrapped condom, in keeping with the group's promotion of safe sex–later evolving to a black stripe under the eye, and then an eyebrow ring in her left eyebrow.

The group's first album in 1992 was Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip. With three singles, it sold six million copies worldwide. In 1994, they released CrazySexyCool, which sold over fifteen million copies worldwide and cemented TLC as one of the biggest female groups of all time.

TLC's third album, FanMail, was released in 1999 and sold over ten million copies. During the recording of FanMail, a public conflict began amongst the members of the group. Lopes sent a message to Vibe magazine saying, "I've graduated from this era. I cannot stand 100 percent behind this TLC project and the music that is supposed to represent me."

In response to Lopes' comments, Watkins and Thomas stated to Entertainment Weekly that Lopes "doesn't respect the whole group" and "Left Eye is only concerned with Left Eye." In turn, Lopes sent a reply through Entertainment Weekly issuing a "challenge" to Watkins and Thomas to release solo albums and let the public decide who was the "greatest" member of TLC:

After Fanmail, Lopes began to expand her solo career. She became a featured rapper on several singles, including former Spice Girl Melanie C's "Never Be the Same Again," which went to #1 in 35 countries, including the UK. She was also featured on the first single from Donell Jones' second album, "U Know What's Up," and she sang "Space Cowboy" with *NSYNC on their 2000 album, No Strings Attached.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

(Press album cover for direct link to the entire Amazon Website):

Eye-Legacy [Includes Bonus DVD]


Lopes also collaborated on "Gimme Some" by Toni Braxton from her 2000 release The Heat. In 2001 she appeared in two commercials for The Gap, one solo and the other with India.Arie, Liz Phair, and Sheryl Crow, where she was featured singing, rather than rapping.

Lopes was also the host of the short-lived MTV series, The Cut, a series on which a handful of would-be pop stars, rappers, and rock bands competed against each other and were judged.

About nine months before her death, Lopes appeared on the singers' edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire along with Joey McIntyre, Tyrese, Nick Lachey, and Lee Ann Womack. She dropped from a $125,000 question and won $32,000 for charity.

Lopes created "Left Eye Productions" to discover new talent. She helped the R&B trio Blaque to secure a record deal with Columbia Records. Their self-titled debut album was executive-produced by Lopes, who also made a cameo appearance on the album and in their music video "I Do." Lopes was also developing another new band called Egypt. 

Lopes spent much of her free time after the conclusion of TLC's first headlining tour supporting Fanmail recording her debut solo album, Supernova. It includes a song titled "A New Star is Born," which is dedicated to her late father.

Other tracks covered personal issues, including her relationship with NFL football player Andre Rison. In 1994, Lopes famously burned down Rison's Atlanta mansion, resulting in the loss of all his possessions. Among the album's twelve tracks was also a posthumous duet with Tupac Shakur that was assembled from the large cache of unreleased recordings done prior to his murder in 1996.

After numerous talks with Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight, Lopes severed her solo deal with Arista–remained contracted with the label as a member of TLC–and signed with Knight's Tha Row Records, intending to record a second solo album under her N.I.N.A. pseudonym (meaning New Identity Not Applicable.)

She was recording with David Bowie for the project, who she was also trying to get involved with the fourth TLC album. The project was also to include several songs recorded by and with Ray J. The album was cancelled after Lopes's death in April 2002.

On April 25, 2002, while driving a Mitsubishi Pajero in Honduras, Lisa Lopes allegedly tried to swerve around a truck, but there was another vehicle heading towards them in the opposite direction. To avoid a head-on collision, Lopes swerved all the way off the road. The vehicle rolled several times after hitting two trees, throwing Lopes and three others out of the windows. She died of neck injuries and severe head trauma.



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