Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes is an underrated artist. When people usually mention some of the best "female MCs," they'll mention Nicki, they'll mention L. Boogie, they'll mention Eve. Essentially, people will mention a wide variety of artists. But, not too often will you hear people mention Left Eye's contribution to women gaining recognition in hip-hop or the fact that she was years ahead of her time, lyrically and flow-wise. She was the main reason why I got into listening to TLC in the first place. Because of this, I'd like to dedicate a few paragraphs going over some of my favorite Left Eye verses in memory of her legacy.
2. Ain't Too Proud to Beg
Left Eye's contribution here is equal parts sexual freedom and sexual equality. That is especially seen in the lyrics "Realize the realism of reality treats/Us both the same/Cause satisfaction is the name of this game." We're all sexual beings, so why not satisfy our urges together? Plus, it's a verse that talks on giving a woman oral, something that you didn't really see too much of in the era of the song. I wish we could've gotten more of Left Eye spitting her sexy-but-equal lyrics, though.
3. Creep (D.A.R.P. Remix)
4. Untouchable feat. Tupac
Left Eye kind of washed Pac on this track, which is an accomplishment in itself. You may remember parts of this song from Django Unchained's "Unchained," but this is the OG version. While Pac tells us why he's untouchable because of his Pac-ness, Left Eye goes a different route. Pulling from all different direction, spirituality and secular blessings alike, Left Eye pulls a Bizzy Bone on this one. In other words, she gives us a deeply spiritual verse that still manages to show off reasons why she is, in fact, an untouchable. Listen to this song if you need some of Left Eye's best bars in your life.
5. The Block Party
One of the common things you'll hear about Left Eye is that she was ahead of her time. This song is one of the best examples of it. It reminds me a bit of mid-2010s Pharrell mixed with dance rap. Lyrically, it's more party rap than some of the other verses/songs I've highlighted. However, it's one of those songs that's infectious as hell and wouldn't feel out of place in a mix with more contemporary artists. Sonically, it feels as fresh as it did back in 2001.
6. Life is Like A Park
I've always loved the neo-soul elements employed on this song. When you combine that with an anti-suicide message and an extended metaphor of, well, life being like a park, you get a hidden gem of a song. Again, spirituality comes into play here as well with Left Eye suggesting that you can't get anywhere if you're just sitting around praying. You've got to get back up and help yourself in order for God to hear you clearly. It's a message that resonates even today.
Now, whether or not you agree with my choices is your prerogative. However, I hope that you've taken the time to check out these tracks and reevaluated your list of greatest female rappers to include the woman who was always labeled as the "crazy one." I feel that her "craziness" was more so because she was ahead of her time. But, again, that's just me.
Rest easy, Left Eye, and thank you for your contributions to music.