Ooooooohhh...On the TLC Tip
The year’s cleverest, shrewdest new hip-hop act, TLC is a playfully aggressive, seriously feminist trio that doesn’t waste any tender loving care on guys who mistreat them — ”I can do bad all by myself” is only one of their forthright tips to men on Ooooooohhh…On the TLC Tip. Another is that they ”Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” — for sex. Scandalous? Retrogressive? Not at all. Here is something we hear all too rarely: young women talking frankly about enjoying it. Still, TLC is PC. They not only rap about safe sex, they embody it; their stage costumes are festooned with condoms, and in the video for ”Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,” the ”L” of the group, who calls herself Left Eye, wears one — on her left eye. Tip was overseen by R&B production team L.A. Reid and Babyface (Whitney Houston, Jermaine Jackson), with lots of clattering beats, heavy funk bass, and dithering, swirling keyboard riffs. Aside from jaunty attitude and impeccable, precise rhymes, TLC’s messages are powerful. Nowhere is this truer than in ”His Story,” a song that begged to be written about women whose allegations of harassment are too easily discredited by the men they accuse. Polished and pointed, TLC is a perfect pop group for the times.