15 Years Since We Lost Left Eye

Lisa Left Eye Lopes

Today lots of articles are being written, to memorialize Lisa Left Eye Lopes, who died 15 years ago today. She was driving in Honduras when apparently, she lost control of her vehicle.   Her contributions to Hip Hop were nothing short of major, in a short span of time. She was the L in TLC, an r&b group that was heavily incorporating hip hop into their music, like a lot of groups were doing then. Michael Bivens spoke about that in an interview about New Edition on the Breakfast Club, and he was right. Groups like New Edition paved the way for TLC. So much of their style (mixing songs with MC’s spittin a verse) was almost directly influenced by that era.

However, Lisa Left Eye Lopes stood out from all her peers. Left Eye was Before her time.

Lisa Left Eye Lopes

She was the MC of the group, but unlike a Bell Biv DeVoe, or other r&b acts with a rapper, she seemed to take the craft more serious. She had lyrics! (Probably deserves an honorable mention in our Best Female MC’s of all Time conversation)

Left Eye was actually talking about something in her music. It wasn’t just for entertainment, although it was always entertaining!

Beyond what she did on wax, she was outspoken on several issues. More importantly, she was a great example for other young black women. Sure, there were the reports of her setting her NFL Husband’s home on fire. But you won’t see Andre Risen say a bad word about her because he probably knows he was in the wrong first. Ultimately that was never really any of our business, but many outlets are reliving that moment today as well.  Left Eye was so much more than that though.  Several years later, we continue to honor her contributions. Some might argue she was one of the first popular artists to be truly, conscious. Most artists who were conscious in 1991 weren’t getting radio play!

Check out this documentary, The Last Days of Left Eye in Honduras (including when Left Eye introduced us to Dr. Sebi)

As you can see, she filmed most of that documentary her self. How innovative was she, to be doing this back in 2002?  Considering just how popular selfies are with today’s technology. People are constantly filming themselves, documenting their moments. Lisa Left Eye Lopes pioneered much of that as well. She also, opened up the minds of black people and took them beyond where they were currently. Her influence was necessary, and she has been truly missed by the music world.

Sadly, she was also filming when her car careened off the road.

In her final moments, she was as brave as she was throughout her life. Her stance against songs like Creep, make her truly stand out in times like we are in today. In so many ways, she loved her husband so passionately, that she was willing to burn everything to the ground rather than walk away taking any of it with her. Today, her life and contributions are celebrated. Honoring Left Eye today, well deserved.

TLC’s biggest hit, Waterfalls – produced by Organized Noize, and co-written by Left Eye

I seen a rainbow yesterday, but too many storms have come and gone
Leaving a trace of not one God-given ray
Is it because my life is ten shades of gray
I pray, all ten fade away
Seldom praise Him for the sunny days
And like his promise is true
Only my faith can undo the many chances I blew to bring my life to anew
Clear and blue and unconditional skies
Have dried the tears from my eyes
No more lonely cries
My only bleeding hope
Is for the folk who can’t cope with such an enduring pain
That it keeps them in the pouring rain
Who’s to blame for tooting ‘caine into your own vein
What a shame, you shoot and aim for someone else’s brain
You claim the insane
And name this day in time
For falling prey to crime
I say the system’s got you victim to your own mind
Dreams are hopeless aspirations in hopes of coming true
Believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you – Left Eye

Left Eye was also featured on several other artists’ hit songs. One of my favorites features from her, on this r&b classic by Donnell Jones. U Know What’s Up (this was a banger in the L.A. Clubs when this came out!). On this song, like so many others Left Eye showed off her versatility and ability to shine on every track she was on. Literally “Better holla if you hear me cuz Left eye gone Shine!” – Shine on us all!

More tributes to Left Eye from around the web –

The official statement from TLC on Twitter

and a few other tweets …

** possibly Related (updated on April 1st, 2019; not an April Fools Joke; Was Nipsey Hussle shot Down over Dr. Sebi Documentary?)

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