Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes understood her role in TLC, the biggest all-female group in pop and R&B history, but she was also hungry for challenges outside the borders of the trio. Thus, almost from the start of the group, Lopes could be found as a guest on other artists’ records, dropping a verse or adding her voice to a hook. Her presence on those tracks tended to be significant, yet always within the structure and setting of the song.
She worked on some great ones, too - tracks we’re still listening to, even all these years since her passing. Here are a handful we still can’t get out of our heads:
Keith Sweat feat. Lisa Lopes, "How Do You Like It?": A New Jack boudoir anthem - maybe not the right music for lights-out loviny-doviny, but the sentiment is there, as are the instructions for how to...um...do it right.
Lil' Kim feat. Da Brat, Lisa Lopes, Missy Elliott, and Angie Martinez, "Not Tonight" (Remix): This is true girl power - five incredible women who know what they want, making demands and seeing them through. And in the middle of it all is Lopes, holding her own with some of the biggest personalities in the game. Even all these years later, this track is still something to hear.
Method Man feat. Lisa Lopes and Booster, "Cradle Rock": Meth spits his usual brand of slang, pop culture references and poetic bragging. Lopes comes in at the end to deliver a lecture on positivity, but doing so almost angrily. Hers is the last voice you hear, which at that point in the song kinda makes sense.
Melanie C feat. Lisa Lopes, "Never Be the Same Again": A massive international hit from Sporty Spice of the Spice Girls, with Lopes kicking in a verse in the track’s final third. It’s worth noting how she can take the creamiest of pop songs, inject her own voice and flow to elevate the song, yet still seem to be a part of the whole thing, not an outsider intruding on the proceedings. That’s a gift, and Lopes had it.
Will Smith feat. Lisa Lopes, “Big Willie Style”: The song is tame stuff - Will Smith bragging about breaking the bank in Vegas - but all that testosterone and attitude needs an alternative perspective, which Left Eye is only happy to provide.