updated 05/27/2014 AT 1:55 PM ET
•originally published 05/27/2014 AT 3:00 PM ET
Lisa “Left Eye, whose dexterous raps took the smooth R&B of TLC to another level, would have been 43 on Monday.
Since her untimely death in a car crash in Honduras in 2002, Lopes’s legend has only grown – let’s celebrate her birthday by taking a look at her most famous verses.
Lopes’s most famous verse arrives at the climax of TLC’s biggest hit. After two verses filled with violence and disease, Left Eye’s talk of bright skies and second chances bounces over the beat like an inspiration.
Left Eye’s contribution to the album version of “No Scrubs” was limited to a few backing “no scrub, no love”s, but the music video restored her rap to its original glory, as she challenged suitors to “satisfy my appetite with something spectacular, check your vernacular and then I’ll get back to ya.”
As on “No Scrubs,” Left Eye’s rap was relegated to the remix on “Creep,” but it’s another reminder of the group’s commitment to addressing social issues seamlessly in their music. As Left Eye reminds us here, “prenatal HIV is often sleeping in a creeping cradle.”
Lopes joined a murderer’s row of female MCs – Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Salt-N-Pepa, Patra and Yo Yo – to demand respect for women of color. “When I think of getting closer, that’s when I tend to think of Rosa,” Lopes raps. “Took a seat to make a stand, but now in standing we’ve gotten more demanding.”
"Not Tonight (Remix)"
Another posse cut, “Not Tonight” sees Lopes rap alongside Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, Da Brat and Angie Martinez as they all revel in the joys of ladies’ night. The verse is good, but the video, with its all-female island chill session interspersed with clips from the Tim Robbins-Martin Lawrence comedy Nothing to Lose, is an undiscovered classic.
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