Time sure flies. For, today marks 20 years since TLC unleashed ‘No Scrubs’ – a song that changed the Pop cultural landscape forever. So, what better way to celebrate than to salute the anthem.
Join us after the jump…
As illustrious careers go, the roller-coaster trajectory of the the R&B collective remains unrivalled, with their narrative being characterised by many a high-high but also legendary lows.
At the point preceding ‘Scrubs’ 1999 arrival, T-Boz, Chilli, and the late Left Eye were at a career crossroads. Because, while 1994 album ‘CrazySexyCool’ has been a multi-Platinum success, questionable contracts left the group bankrupt and their already impressive legacy in a precarious position. So much so that few could have ever predicted the hurricane incoming.
But as the age old adage goes, never count any act out. Especially, TLC.
With the likes of the Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child setting the girl power agenda for a new era, ‘Scrubs’ saw TLC harness that and serve up the definitive chapter and verse on how male suitors would have to engage with them moving forward. Put simply, they had to step their game up.
Issued as the lead release from comeback album ‘Fanmail,’ ‘Scrubs’ immediately made its mark in a climate that saw women be more assertive, more autonomous, and more unapologetic.
It peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it reigned for four weeks.
Notably, the track’s radio airplay shattered records; it was the first song to peak with over 140 million audience impressions and was named the Top Airplay Song of 1999. Impressively, it also holds the record for most weeks at #1 on the Rhythmic Top 40 15 weeks.
Internationally, ‘Scrubs’ strut to #1 in Australia and hit #3 in the UK (where it also achieved Platinum status) – becoming the trio’s biggest British hit to date.
Like most tracks released on the cusp of the new millennium, the song’s video (directed by Hype Williams) embraced the futuristic and played with concepts of gravity. It also spotlighted the ladies flavorsome personalities. The clip would go on to earn TLC a MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video.
It’s the dream of most acts to establish a signature hit, yet there are special few who – over the course of their careers – manage to cement several. An elite list TLC sits on. And for that we’ll be ever thankful.
Cuts a la ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Waterfalls’ made an enduring impact on culture and successive generations and in many ways are the definition of what it means to live forever.