Since their made-for-TV movie, CrazySexyCool, TLC’s been in the news what feels like everyday since. It’s not exactly classified information Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was viewed as the group’s most enigmatic member and one who consistently marched to the beat of her own drum. LA Weekly’s Jake Paine dug up an interesting nugget about Lopes’ career in the time leading up to her untimely demise.
With the music mostly vaulted, and former label CEO Suge Knight rarely speaking publicly, we spoke with Left Eye’s last producer Darren Vegas, who explains the part of Lopes’ story that is seldom accounted for.
“I had no idea she was even comin’ to the label,” says Vegas, a Huntington Beach native who was at the helm of production (the position once held by Dr. Dre) at Death Row in 2002. “Her vibe was real cool,” he says. “I expected her to be all wild and stuff from what I’d heard, [but] she was real laid back and calm.” Recording as N.I.N.A., Lopes bonded with label-mates including Kurupt, Crooked I and Ray J.
The album, now a footnote in history, had planned collaborations with music heavyweights Missy Elliot, N*SYNC and David Bowie. Needless to say her death sent a jolt not only through the industry as a whole, but those close to her at Death Row hoping to make her solo dream a reality. “It was disbelief,” Vegas says of the reaction at Death Row. “At the same time, there were so many deaths around [the label then] that it was almost routine.”
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