TLC’s “Creep” was released a little over25 years ago. The song helped to push their sophomore album, CrazySexyCool, to Diamond status, making them one of the few artists to achieve selling over 10 million copies of an album.
Despite the massive success of the album, the group filed for bankruptcy. They later recovered and went on to become one of the most influential groups in music and style of all time.
“Creep” remains one of their signature singles. The song was also controversial for its subject matter and one group member was against the song altogether. Here are three fun facts about the famous song.
‘Creep’ was inspired by a real-life experience
Dallas Austin penned the song after talking with lead singer, T-Boz. She had recently experienced infidelity, allegedly from her boyfriend Delvin, who was a member of the supergroup, Jodeci. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, T-Boz spoke about the concept of the song, “‘Creep,’ unfortunately, was one of my true stories,” T-Boz said. “You’re with a guy and he’s not showing you attention, so another guy comes along and you’re like, ‘Hey, if you were where you were supposed to be, he couldn’t be showing me attention right now!’” After speaking with Austin, he wrote the track but put a spin on it from a female’s perspective. The lyrics delve into the journey of a woman who cheats on their unfaithful lover for attention.
Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes hated that song…as well as their label head L.A. Reid
Left Eye was the one in the group who didn’t mind taking risks. The idea for the group to rock condoms on their clothing to promote safe sex, though controversial, was all Left Eye’s brainchild. As much as she was considered the wild child of the group, she surprisingly had an issue with “Creep.” She reflected on why she wasn’t a fan of the song during their VH1 Behind The Music special. “If a girl is going to catch her man cheating…this was my thing, instead of telling her to cheat back, why don’t we tell her to just leave?!” She protested the song until the very end. The day of the video shoot, she not only showed up late and acted out on several different occasions, but she also wore black tape over her mouth as a symbol of not agreeing with the message. None of the members of the group liked the first video for varying reasons. As a result, the video had to be shot twice. Left Eye wasn’t the only one against the song. T-Boz told Billboard in the same interview that LaFace records label head, L.A. Reid, “flipped out” when he heard the song.
‘Creep’ was TLC’s first Grammy win
Despite Left Eye’s opposition and some of the negative reception the song received, “Creep” was a hit. Fans loved the song for taking a stand against patriarchy and changing the narrative of how women react to being cheated on. Within a month of its release, it was certified Gold for selling over 500,000 copies as a single. It reached the number one position after being in the top 10 charts and remained at number one for four consecutive weeks. It won the first of these awards. The song received two nominations at the 38th Grammy Awards – one for Best R&B Song and the other for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, they won both.
CrazySexyCool produced four top 10 singles overall, with “Waterfalls” becoming one of the biggest success of their career. “Creep” however, started the domino effect of hit after hit for the group.
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