No Scrubs

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"No Scrubs"
Single by TLC
from the album FanMail
B-side Silly Ho
Released January 23, 1999
Format CD single, cassette single, 12" single, 7" single
Recorded 1998;
D.A.R.P. Studios[1]
(Atlanta, Georgia)
Genre R&B, hip hop, dance
Length 3:34 (album version)
4:00 (video version)
3:39 (video version edit)
Label LaFace, Arista
Writer(s) Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs, Kandi Burruss, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes
Producer(s) Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs
Certification Platinum (RIANZ)
TLC singles chronology
"Diggin' on You"
(1995)
"No Scrubs"
(1999)
"Unpretty"
(1999)
Music video
"No Scrubs" on YouTube
FanMail track listing
"Whispering Playa - Interlude"
(4)
"No Scrubs"
(5)
"I'm Good at Being Bad"
(6)

"No Scrubs" is a song recorded by American R&B girl group TLC for their album FanMail. Released in January 1999 as the album's first single, "No Scrubs" became TLC's third number-one single and eighth top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100. It also earned them their second Grammy nomination for Record of the Year.

The single is generally considered to be one of the group's signature songs and was the 2nd biggest Hot 100 single of 1999, according to Billboard's Year End Charts. The single was certified platinum in the US, the UK, and New Zealand. Lead vocals were performed by TLC member Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas, with background vocals credited to Chilli, Debra Killings, and former Xscape members Kandi Burruss and Tameka Cottle who also wrote the song.[2]

The version containing Left Eye's rap as heard in the video was not included on the album FanMail, but could be purchased on the international CD single, and later on Now and Forever: The Hits and 20.

Chart performance[edit]

"No Scrubs" climbed into the U.S. top ten as an airplay only song and jumped to number one upon the single release. The single stayed at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks from April 10, 1999, to May 7, 1999. The single stayed in the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot 100 for 24 consecutive weeks. "No Scrubs" airplay was at the time astonishing; it was the very first song to peak with over 140 million audience impressions,[3] and was crowned the Top Airplay Song of 1999. It holds the record for most weeks at number 1 on the Rhythmic Top 40 with 15 weeks. "No Scrubs" is listed at number 161 on the All Time Singles Chart Worldwide with points of over 6,000,000. In Australia "No Scrubs" was a huge success, spending seven consecutive weeks at the summit of that country's chart from May 2 - June 20, 1999.

Music video[edit]

There were two music videos made for this song in March 1999, a live version, and a futuristic version.

The futuristic music video, directed by Hype Williams, was shot on March 18, 1999, and also received massive airplay on MTV, and won the group the 1999 MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video, beating out favorites 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Each member had a set in the video. The video also has a dance sequence where the women dance in front of the "TLC" logo. The Main Mix is used in the video instead of the album version.

The video features the women in three different outfits: white, black, silver and Left Eye in blue. When there are shots of the women together they have two different outfits: black and silver. T-Boz's hair is fuchsia in the video. It also features a scene of Chilli on a swing singing. It also features T-Boz dancing as well as Left Eye. As Left Eye's rap begins, she is in a garage-like place with white clothes on while rapping. It also shows her practicing fighting moves in a futuristic blue outfit. One of the final scenes shows TLC fighting each other, while also dancing and having fun. The video is stylistically similar to Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson's music video Scream.

Live Version

The second music video is labeled as the live version, and features the girls dancing on stage in different-colored outfits. This version was intended to be the original music video for the song, but it was only released internationally, and was replaced with the futuristic version for the rest of the world. The live version can still be viewed on the group's YouTube channel.

Legacy and pop culture fame[edit]

After TLC released "No Scrubs" in 1999, Sporty Thievz made an answer song called "No Pigeons" that same year.[4]

R&B/pop singer Jessie J. covered the song during a commercial break for the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.[5]

The song is referenced by Michael Keaton's character in the 2010 comedy film The Other Guys, starring Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell.

In 2012, a Saturday Night Live sketch featuring host Christina Applegate sampled part of the song.[6]

In August 2012, Kelly Clarkson covered the song as a fan request while performing in Virginia.

The song was covered by actors Kevin McHale, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet, Blake Jenner, and Samuel Larsen (as their characters Artie Abrams, Blaine Anderson, Sam Evans, Ryder Lynn, and Joe Hart, respectively) on the FOX television series Glee, in the season four episode "Sadie Hawkins".

Meadow Soprano and her friend Hunter Scangarelo sing along to "No Scrubs" while cooking in the kitchen in The Sopranos episode "Toodle Fucking-Oo".

Jack McFarland sings a line from the song in the Will & Grace episode "Poker? I Don't Even Like Her"

On T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle songwriter Tameka "Tiny" Harris was honored an ASCAP Woman Behind the Music award in the episode "It Takes Two to Hustle" and one of the things mentioned was "her work with TLC" as the song was indirectly referenced.

Bastille covered this song in a remix of the original TLC song along with The xx song Angels, the track was called "No Angels",[7] from their EP - Other People's Heartache Pt.2.

Scout Niblett did a cover of the song, which appears on the album It's Up to Emma, released in May 2013.[8]

In 2013, DJ and producer Le Youth sampled the song in his single Dance with Me, reaching number 6 in the UK Singles Chart

On Happy Endings, Penny quotes the song when Jane tells her she should date a guy who characterizes a scrub.

Tracklisting[edit]

  • US CD Single
  1. "No Scrubs" (Album Version) - 3:39
  2. "No Scrubs" (Instrumental) - 3:37
  • EU CD Single
  1. "No Scrubs" (Album Version) - 3:37
  2. "No Scrubs" (Main Mix with Left Eye's Rap) (clean) - 4:00
  3. "No Scrubs" (Instrumental) - 3:37
  4. "Silly Ho" (Album Version) - 4:16
  • UK CD 1
  1. "No Scrubs" (Album Version) - 3:37
  2. "No Scrubs" (Main Mix with Left Eye's Rap) (clean) - 4:00
  3. "Silly Ho" (Album Version) - 4:16
  • UK CD 2
  1. "No Scrubs" (Album Version) - 3:39
  2. "Waterfalls" (Radio Version) - 4:19
  3. "Creep" (Radio Version) - 4:26

Chart performance[edit]

End of year charts[edit]

End of year chart (1999) Position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 12
UK Singles Chart 16
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[29] 2

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"All Night Long" by Faith Evans
Canadian RPM Dance Chart number one single
March 22, 1999
Succeeded by
"All Night Long" by Faith Evans
Preceded by
"All Night Long" by Faith Evans
Canadian RPM Dance Chart number one single
April 5, 1999 - May 10, 1999
Succeeded by
"Girlfriend/Boyfriend" by Blackstreet
Preceded by
"Believe" by Cher
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
April 10, 1999 - May 1, 1999
Succeeded by
"Livin' la Vida Loca" by Ricky Martin
Preceded by
"What's It Gonna Be?!" by Busta Rhymes featuring Janet
Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs number one single
April 10, 1999 - May 1, 1999
Succeeded by
"Fortunate" by Maxwell
Preceded by
"...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number one single
2 May 1999 – 20 June 1999
Succeeded by
"Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer
Preceded by
"Love Song" by Sky
Canada Singles Chart number one single
April 26, 1999- May 3, 1999
Succeeded by
"Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer
Preceded by
"That Don't Impress Me Much" by Shania Twain
RIANZ (New Zealand)
number one single

9 May 1999 – 15 May 1999
Succeeded by
"Tonight" by TrueBliss
Preceded by
"Skin" by Charlotte
Canadian RPM Dance Chart number one single
June 7, 1999
Succeeded by
"U Don't Know Me" by Armand Van Helden

Covers[edit]