so i know it’s been a little while since i’ve posted (i guess i sort of have a life now! who knew). but i’ve had the idea to write about these two really weird and artist defining albums for the last two months now. today i’m comparing fanmail by tlc and guerrilla warfare by hot boy$. i really like each album in their own special ways, but one day i realized that they have a lot in common. like kind of a scary amount in common. then i realized that both tlc & hot boy$ had some stuff in common too. so i decided to compare.
starting off with fanmail, this album is really a product of it’s time. it was the late 90s, 1999 specifically. Y2k was impending, the internet was a novelty (i mean just look at this archived page of the sephora website from 1997… it’s terrifying in the best way possible. couture.), and robots were still cool. just looking at the cover screams Y2k. the blue metallic skin, the font that was custom made for tlc, the idea that “fanmail” was still cool. i’ve gotta admit that when i first saw this cover a few years ago i hated it. i thought it was really scary. i’ve really got an issue with it for some reason. now i just deal with it. but jesus christ… look at it!
i feel you, stewie.
the album itself is pretty decent, but not as good as crazysexycool or even as ooooohhh… on the tlc tip. everyone knows the reason why it wasn’t as good is because left eye wasn’t as involved with it. it sounds dated already with the robot chrome aesthetic. they even had a robot rap on one of the songs instead of the group’s dedicated rapper. it’s not a bad album. it has quite a few gems but it was entirely too long and had too much filler. but i digress.
guerrilla warfare… i really like this album. a lot. i have a damn shirt with the cover on it that i wear close to once a week. it kinda freaks people out. the cover kind of reminds me of something by a heavy metal band. but nope, just four boys in hoodies and solja rags staring into your soul while be surrounded by fire. ok maybe i see why it freaks people out.
guerrilla warfare was the hot boy$ biggest album in terms of popularity and sales. it had two of their most recognizable hits that were officially under their name and not just the “cash money millionaires” title, “i need a hot girl” and “we on fire ’99”. yes i distinguished the version from 1999 from 1997. they’re pretty similar but the first one didn’t have a music video and B.G. didn’t have a verse on it. it was only their second album and the final one they released as a group-group.
my boys! now i know how k-pop fans feel.
just looking at fanmail next to it they have a lot of things in common. they both came out in the same year, both had the groups biggest hit (“no scrubs” and “we on fire ’99”, but i guess you could argue against “no scrubs” being their biggest), both had very weird album covers with all members of the group staring at you, both starting to sound a little dated… they both had 17 songs!! guerrilla warfare wasn’t as bad as fanmail in terms of filler songs, but a few songs could’ve been cut just like they could’ve been cut on fanmail. as mentioned in the last paragraph, both albums were the last released by each group before they broke up. they also both released their final albums in 2003 and they were equally kind of weird to listen to and awkward. of course, the hot boy$ broke up because of money issues and tlc broke up due to left eye’s untimely death, but they both have similar things going for them. wow, i’m really realizing (a reluctant shoutout to kylie jenner) how much these damn albums have in common. amazing.
perfect picture tbh.
in terms of just the groups as a whole, i could compare them. but when it comes to most musical groups and bands they have the same sort of story. they got together, made a whole bunch of money, there was some drama, one member was always pushed to the side (left eye & turk), then they broke up. and that basic chain of events applies to the hot boy$ and tlc. everyone knows the classic story of tlc’s money issues. even left eye herself talked about them in her classic behind the music story. lots of people know that the hot boy$ broke up cause baby wasn’t paying them (and that at least 2 of the boys said they were being “brainwashed”, which is very believable). so it’s really too bad how both groups came to an end. i do think that tlc would’ve broken up soon after fanmail… they seemed to be coming to an end. the hot boy$ were getting older and it was becoming clear that he would be a star soon (“i feel like that when 2000 comes, it’ll be all about wayne”). they couldn’t be manipulated forever. unfortunately i don’t think they’ll ever get back together, and of course tlc can’t get back together. so there’s another thing they sadly have in common.
if you wanna reminisce with me check out my two favorite songs from each album:
fanmail: “i miss you so much” & “i’m good at being bad”
guerrilla warfare: “i feel” & “bout whatever”
a post on pnd2 coming soon.