From The Vault: TLC – ‘Red Light Special’

Published: Sunday 24th Jul 2016 by Joe

“Don’t go too fast, don’t go too slow, you got to let your body flow”

As baby-making bangers go, few can rival the timeless sensuality served up on TLC’s 1995 smash ‘Red Light Special.’ For that reason and many more, the bedroom masterpiece is this week’ selection for From This Vault.

Written and produced by the the legendary Babyface, ‘Special’ was serviced as the second single from the group blockbuster record-breaking sophomore set ‘CrazySexyCool.’

After flipping the gender script with ‘Creep’, the girls made way for some sexy time with the release of this track (which itself preceded the educational tone of follow-up ‘Waterfalls’.)

Missing out on the #1 spot due to Montell Jordan’s monumental ‘This Is How We Do It’, ‘Special’ peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B tally. The cut was also a Top 20 hit in the UK.

Re-affirming their commitment to breaking the norm, the trio skewed edgy with the track’s accompanying video. In TLC’s world, prostitutes are males and Left-Eye is the pimp. A point that is often overlooked, yet one that was a powerful way of furthering their female-empowerment mantra. Matthew Rolston directed the visual, which was set in a brothel and featured then-model Boris Kodjoe.

Fittingly, there are no better words to describe TLC than “crazy, sexy, and cool”. Whether they were tackling social issues or goofing around, those three components were ever present. And now, years on, their message is ever-during.

These days, there are many a crazy, sexy and cool act. Yet, sadly so few have anything interesting to say. Different times, right?

In any case: TLC, we salute you!

Your thoughts?

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  1. Bey Is Grown July 24, 2016


    • HALF AMAZIN July 24, 2016

      Most of the commenters here were wee babes when this song was popular. I’m so annoyed how posts like this exist and the next will be Stan war bait

    • ?+✈=? July 24, 2016


  2. MusicFan103 July 24, 2016

    This song is so classic and easily represents the 90s sweet spot of R&B music. This album and especially its singles were so epic and defining for TLC and their iconic career.

    I remember way back in the day my sister had this CD and she would sing this song all the time. Little did we know then how dirty this song was. LMFAO, how funny is that to imagine yourself being under 10 years old singing a song that is so sexually suggestive.

    With this song and other gems like “Diggin’ On You” being complete R&B Soul records, I am going to need this upcoming OVER delayed TLC Final Album to be really good. If Lisa Lopes family doesn’t authorize her vocals, that is no excuse. They can get female rappers like Da Brat, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott to represent Left Eye and do her justice in memoriam on some tracks. C’mon TLC I am rooting for an amazing Final Album. Speaking of, WTF is it or even a title or single at. Your kickstarted ended light years ago!

    I’m ready!

  3. Stephy July 24, 2016

    Produced & written by the genius Babyface. Classic.

    No tea, no shade … But I’ve always felt as-tho this song should’ve been sung by SWV, Brownstone or some other girl group with actual supreme vocal talent. TLC still made this song a hit & slayed.

    • MusicFan103 July 24, 2016

      Hmmm SWV, I’d have to think deeper on that. Isn’t Brownstone 1 hit wonders, I don’t even know their single off the top of my head. I personally think they did the song justice. #KanyeShrug

      • HALF AMAZIN July 24, 2016

        Omg. A current song is sampling Browstone

      • Mark111 July 24, 2016

        Yea, that same on hit. I think they had two hits, but same thing.

    • Mark111 July 24, 2016

      I been listening to a lot of SWV this week for some reason. But this was meant for tlc, T Boz voice is unmatched. Tlc was the only and still to this day full package girl group.

      • HALF AMAZIN July 24, 2016

        When you say “full package”,what do you mean? To me, TLC delivered a combination of vocals never heard and overall swag. Tboz, to this day, doesn’t sound like anyone else vocally. Hate it or love it, you recognize it when you hear it. For example, for me, i don’t know why anyone liked Macy Gray, but she’s unique. People like that

      • Mark111 July 24, 2016

        I go into more details in my comment below, but like you said, T voice was HER voice. Same with Chili. The other groups mostly sounded the same, and you had one lead singer and the others fell back, or never heard from. I know you had groups like Xscape and EnVouge, and they were good singers, each one could sing, but they didn’t have a voice that stood out from each other. Nor were the members outstanding.
        TLC were dancers back when we had very little dancers. I can only name MJ, Janet, Usher and Aaliyah as the dancers of the 90s. And the last two didn’t put on their dancing shoes until the late 90s. Tlc were well balanced. I hope I explained it better this time.

  4. Annalise July 24, 2016

    An ICONIC sultry BOP! I love how even in their sèxy songs, they still sung about female empowerment. This song is all about women taking control in their bedroom and getting theirs first! ? In the video, the roles are reversed and the women are the pimps in a cathouse full of hot men! This vibe reminds me so much of Prince.

    This is definitely in my top 10 TLC songs. I wish ‘This Is How It Works’ from the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack was included in CrazySèxyCool, or at least released as a single too. That song is underrated !


  5. MUSICHEAD July 24, 2016

    This video, this song…TLC at their peak. I miss the 90’s!

  6. HALF AMAZIN July 24, 2016

    *plays FanMail*…just like you, I get lonely toooooo

  7. BEYSTAN_ SINCE 1997 July 24, 2016

    One of my favorite song by TLC! I’ve always said Songs like (Bey’s “Speechless/Dance For You”& Rihanna’s “Skin” were birthed by this classic!

    • Mark111 July 24, 2016

      You need to listen to the Isley Brothers then. Because that’s the guitar solo that even this song is inspired by. But I don’t expect a Beyonce fab to know anything about music. I mean you clowns think your fave is original.

      • BEYSTAN_ SINCE 1997 July 24, 2016


        I have the Crazy S*** Cool album so I already knee the song was sampled. I just felt those other songs I listed were very reminessnt of “Red Light Special”. More importantly you think Aaliyah had more impact than Brandy & Rihanna is above Beyonce… So wouldn’t expect an intelligent musical opinions to come out your mouth!

      • Tori July 24, 2016

        The Isley Brothers are BLACK GOLD!!!!!! Yet some one will call them a flop because of numbers when in reality they can still get on a stage today and shut down anybody doing old s***!

  8. Mark111 July 24, 2016

    TLC is forever unmatched. They came out with a New Jack Swing, early hip hop & r&b that will never happen again without being a copy. You loved all 3 members and each member brought something to the table. Each had their own style look and sound wise, yet still looked like a group. It’s been 20 years and we still done have a girl from, or group period that has that. And at the end, they could perform their lil cute butts off. Their music had a message, their albums had great themes. Each album were totally different from each other. And at the end, they never sold out for a pop sound. They sold like pop stars, but their music wasn’t bubblegum pop or try hard at all. They did what they wanted and it crossed over into pop, but they never dumbed down their sound for mainstream radio. Hint DC Survivor Era.

    • King B July 24, 2016

      At least DC are not local. Survivor went number one in UK. BTW, DC had more monthly Spotify listener than TLC (more classic, you tell me?) and their greatest hits album still re-enter billboard this year and in the UK.

    • ?+✈=? July 24, 2016

      I agree survivor was bubblegum as hell(it was 100 steps back from WOTW), that whole album/era SEEMED like it was made for 5 year olds and white people. DC was like the black version of the SPICE GIRLS THAT ERA!

  9. The true Danzou July 24, 2016

    This 1 TLC song was better than any Destiny’s Child album and better than anything Theifyonce stole.

    • BEYSTAN_ SINCE 1997 July 24, 2016

      Well Destinys Child surpassed TLC & the last time I checked TLC was asking for collection plates to help fund their next album. DC3 could never & Beyonce solo career is everything T-Bone & Cold Chillie wish their would have been. Stay mad!

      • The true Danzou July 24, 2016

        Why would I be mad TLC still put out better music and they wrote they didn’t need to bully or kick members out to promote albums.

      • TurkeyNoodleSavage July 24, 2016

        Please don’t start with the delusional lies … DC never surpassed TLC , none of the members of TLC have had big solo careers because they put their GROUP 1st .

        Left Eye was EVERYWHERE in the late 90’s . she worked with Toni Braxton , Mya , Will Smith , Donell Jones , Keith Sweat , and MANY MORE artist , even developing her OWN group ( Blaque ) who scored a platinum album .

        T-Boz has been featured with many artist as well , and also wrote for many people in the industry including Little Mix for their 1st album .

        Chilli focused more on her acting . and her reality shows were successful , she’s also apart of BeachBody ( along with Shaun T )

        So before you speak FACTS know WTF your actually talking about . ✋they are highly successful in their own right solo wise .

  10. Annalise July 24, 2016

    ??And just like that @SkidMark and his troll account @Dïckface managed to make this entire TLC post about Beyonce and DC ?. If something is so irrelevant to you, why do you continue to mention it? Don’t get yourself draggedT on the holy day sis!!

  11. Annalise July 24, 2016


  12. TurkeyNoodleSavage July 24, 2016

    FOREVER the best girl group of all time , there will never be another . they truly represented unity .
    Unique sound , look , personalities , dance moves etc . They had IT ! and still do .

  13. JanStan July 24, 2016

    The 90s were my era and Janet and TLC were my everything. What an amazing time to be alive when Mariah Madonna Janet and Toni were the boss s***.

  14. King B July 24, 2016

    DC had more monthly listener than two of the “biggest” girl group on Spotify. And their albums re-enter Billboard this year. ?

  15. ow Reddish tran ivy blokz Need UK timely Ukuyikiji July 24, 2016

    Awesome song

  16. Justafan July 25, 2016

    Aahhh this song reminds me if such good times. I had this album on reeeepeat back in the day

  17. bibi93 July 27, 2016

    Golden era of RnB

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