Three eras, one epic tour – that’s what’s on deck Tuesday, Aug. 27, as Nelly, TLC and Flo Rida take the stage at the Don Haskins Center.
Originally formed in Atlanta with Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez and Rozanda “Chilli” Thomas, TLC was one of the most successful girl groups of the 1990s with the success of its first two albums “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip” and “CrazySexyCool.”
The hits carried over to the new millennium with the chart-topping album “FanMail,” coming out in 1999. Lopez died in 2002 while on a spiritual retreat in Honduras, leaving T-Boz and Chilli to carry on as a duo.
Nelly burst on the hip-hop scene with a new Midwest drawl on his debut single “Country Grammar (Hot S**t)” in 2000. He followed that up with four multi-platinum albums, placing him firmly in the upper echelon of rap-pop crossover artists alongside Jay-Z and Eminem.
Flo Rida’s debut single “Low” was featured in the film “Step Up 2: The Streets” in 2008. While the song is catchy and danceable – if still decidedly a rap song – Flo Rida would soon become synonymous with rappers like Pitbull and singers like Usher who jumped on the electronic dance music bandwagon.
The shift in gears payed off for the Miami rapper, who released a slew of international hit singles and sold more than 80 million albums worldwide.
Here’s a pre-concert playlist to get you in the dancing mood:
1. Nelly: “Country Grammar (Hot S**t).” Every good DJ knows that even in 2019, those four opening kick drums followed by “Hmmmm, we goin’ down down baby …” can get the party started. The song is as undeniable now as it was at the dawn of the millennium.
2. TLC: “No Scrubs.” Likewise, the opening guitar strums of this hit are sure to invoke screams from the women – and some men – in the audience. The song’s main theme: Any man without a car is a “scrub,” also known as a “buster.”
3. Flo Rida: “Low.” Better keep the party going with another dance floor-filler. Again, it’s all about the big hook that kicks off the song: “Shorty had them Apple Bottom jeans, boots with the furrrrrr!”
4. TLC: “Waterfalls.” This song was absolutely everywhere the summer of 1995 and also opened people’s ears up to the production group Organized Noize, best known for its close work with fellow ATLiens, Outkast. “Waterfalls” tackles the topics of HIV, drug dealing and promiscuity over 70s-inspired horns and hip-hop drums.
5. Nelly: “Hot In Herre.” Time to get sweaty. This hit went from the nightclubs to every soccer mom’s Zumba class, keeping it in the national conscious 17 years after it topped Billboards Hot 100 chart in 2002.
6. TLC:“Creep.” My playlist may be a little TLC heavy, but this is my party, and I’m the DJ.
Hip-hop heads immediately recognize those drums lifted from Slick Rick’s “Hey Young World,” and the idea of “creeping” around on your significant other is probably just a few weeks shy of being as old as monogamy.
7. Flo Rida: “Right Round.” This one sometimes gets forgotten. But who could forget the song that – for better or worse – also gave us the first listen to future pop star Kesha? Let’s not forget the hook, lifted from Dead or Alive’s ‘80s new wave classic.
8. Nelly: “Dilemma.” Let’s close it off with a slow jam. Featuring my favorite Child of Destiny, Kelly Rowland (yes, Beyonce is the Queen, but Rowland will always have my heart). “Dilemma” finds the song’s protagonists contemplating forbidden love.