Lopes, Lisa 'Left Eye' : Supernova
TLC rapper in long-promised solo debut
Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes put the ‘mad’ into madam. Most of the drama that’s
dogged the career of trailblazing R&B trio TLC emanates from her third of
the group. It’s unlikely that Left Eye will ever match the kerfuffle she caused when
arrested for burning down the house of her boyfriend, NFL star Andre Rison.
But she’s not been doing too badly in the last 18 months.
She went missing last year only to turn up soon after the police had been
informed, appearing unannounced on a television show. She also failed to
show up at the wedding of TLC‘s T-Boz, sparking split rumours (they’re
reconciled and recording again now). Even her own wedding – to, yes, Andre
Rison – was postponed at the last minute when Left Eye decided she was ‘too
So it’s unsurprising that few held their breath when Lopes declared several
years ago that her debut solo album was imminent. This spring she said that
whatever happened it would be out on August 16, the same day that her
grandfather was born and her father died. August 16 came and went, but now
in late October 2001 ‘Supernova’ finally hits the racks.
After a build up like that, it’s no surprise that ‘Supernova’ is a
disappointment. It seldom hits the dizzy heights of TLC‘s last album, ‘Fan
Mail’, but there are enough flashes of brilliance amongst the one-paced
fillers (skip ‘Jenny’, ‘I Believe In Me’ – oh really? – ‘True Confessions’,
‘The Universal Quest’) to reiterate how crucial Lopes’ chunky raps are to the
Chief among the highlights is the opening trio of songs: the stoned groove
of ‘Life Is Like A Park’, the Rockwilder-produced hip pop of ‘Hot!’, and the
fantastic single, ‘The Block Party’, a trippy party anthem that could be set
in a ghetto Sesame Street. The other stand-out moments incorporate two of
the strangest guest spots anyone could hope for. On ‘Rags To Riches’, Lopes
wheels on fiancé and footballer Rison for a surprisingly deft rap, and
‘Untouchable’ features a duet with the male rapper whose style most
resembles Left Eye’s: the late Tupac Shakur. Death doesn’t harm a terrific
‘Supernova’ just about justifies its existence, if not its long gestation.
Above all, it whets the appetite for the next TLC album, forecast for late November. That date, though, is fluid.