Silly Ho

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"Silly Ho"
"Silly Ho" cover
Promotional single by TLC from the album FanMail
Released December 29, 1998 (1998-12-29)
A-side "No Scrubs"
Recorded 1998
Length 4:15
Label LaFace
Writer(s) Dallas Austin
Producer(s) Cyptron

"Silly Ho" is a song recorded by American R&B girl group TLC for their third studio album FanMail (1999). The song was written and produced by TLC's long-time collaborator Dallas Austin and was produced under his artificial intelligence alter ego pseudonym named Cyptron.

Instead of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes's vocals being on the song due to a busy schedule, Vic-E, the then temporary voice-based fourth member for the group's FanMail era, makes an appearance on the rap verse and ad-libs.

It was sent to radio as a promotional single prior to the release of FanMail and managed to reach number twenty-one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song also peaked at number fifty-nine on the Hot 100.

It received mixed reviews from music critics, whom complimented the track itself but criticizing its misleading feminism lyrics.

It was also featured on several compilation albums.


"Silly Ho" is a R&B-techno[1] song that built on a foundation of "annoying sonic" burrs and "cutesy chop-suey" synths.[2][3] The song along with "I'm Good At Being Bad" were said to crank up the "raunch level" for the girls.[4] Two authors Kerry Mallan and Sharyn Pearce analyzed its content in their book Youth Cultures: Texts, Images, and Identities:

"[The song] describes the narrator as a woman who has never relied on her partner to buy her what she wants. Indeed the narrator describes how she bought her own rings, so overturning the conventional associations of rings with romance. Such a position of autonomy is compared with the sexual obligation incurred by the "silly ho" who will do whatever is required by her new."[5]

With the lyrics: ”I ain’t never been no silly bitch/ Waiting to get rich/ From a nigga bank account,” which David Browne from Entertainment Weekly points out they were talking about taking control of their own finances.[3] However, Complex's Julianne Escobedo Shepherd said the track's message was one of total independence, "and not playing one's self out to sit at the feet of a dude."[2] Jet agreed, the publication noticed the song's similar message to "No Scrubs", but more about "a kind of female who can't get her life together."[6] Vic-E then raps "You know you can't get with this.../ Stuck on silly shit/ Boy you know you need to quit" before declaring "[she's] out" on the bridge of the song.[2][7]

Critical reception[edit]

The song was mostly compared to Aaliyah's track "Are You That Somebody?".

David Browne from Entertainment Weekly said the song could be a jingle for "a hip-hop investment firm."[3]

In a retrospective review by Complex's Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, she said Austin was doing his best Timbaland imitation of Aaliyah's "Are You That Somebody?" on the track.[2] Billboard's writer Chuck Taylor also compared the twos, questioning the song is whether a throwaway track to stir interest before knowing if they have made any true progress.[8]


Ann Powers from Rolling Stone, however, criticized Austin's attempt at girl power on the song as "misguided."[10]

Robert Christgau and The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin both chose the song as one of Fanmail's best tracks.[11]

Jonathan Bernstein from Spin predicted the track to be a "future hit".[12]

Release and commercial performance[edit]

The song was the first song and promotional single released off their album as a teaser for FanMail.[13]

Both the song and "No Scrubs" have gotten "tremendous" airplay.[6]

American musician Girl Talk took samples of the song for his mash-up track "All Eyes on Me" on the album Unstoppable (2004). In 2016, Canadian producer Jåmvvis covers the song with a new jazz-influenced, sax-heavy, bass driven redition.

Live performances[edit]

On June 22, 2013, TLC includes the track on their hits medley while performing at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, receiving the Legend Award.[14]

Silly Ho/Hat 2 Da Back/Kick Yo Game (Super Bowl Blitz '14)

Formats and track listings[edit]


Chart (1998) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 59
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[18] 21


  1. ^ Freydkin, Donna (February 25, 1999). "TLC's glam goddesses resurface with Fan Mail". CNN. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Escobedo Shepherd, Julianne (February 23, 2014). "FanMail Turns 15: Looking Back At TLC's Most Prescient Album". Complex. Complex Media Inc. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Browne, David (March 5, 1999). "TLC - Fanmail review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved November 27, 2016. 
  4. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (May 1999). "There The Hard Way" (Google Books). Vibe. SpinMedia. 7 (4): 84. ISSN 1070-4701. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  5. ^ Youth Cultures: Texts, Images, and Identities (Google Books). Greenwood Publishing Group. March 30, 2003. p. 41. ISBN 027597409X. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "TLC: Sexy trio back on top after bankruptcy" (Google Books). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. 95 (19): 62. April 12, 2016. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  7. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (May 4, 2012). "Refresh: The Lonely Futurism of TLC's FanMail". Pitchfork. Condé Nast. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Powers, Ann (March 18, 1999). "TLC – Fanmail review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on July 9, 2008. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert. "TLC". Robert Christgau. Retrieved November 30, 2016. 
  12. ^ Bernstein, Jonathan (March 1999). "Three the hard way" (Google Books). Spin. SpinMedia. 15 (3): 52. ISSN 0886-3032. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  13. ^ Hay, Carla (February 5, 2000). "Backstreets, Cher, TLC among those up for Record of the Year" (Google Books). Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 112 (6): 20. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  14. ^ Lansky, Sam (June 25, 2013). "TLC Perform Hits Medley & Accept Legend Award At MTV International VMAs: Watch". Idolator. Hive Media. Retrieved December 4, 2016. 
  15. ^ "TLC — Silly Ho (Promotional US CD)". Discogs. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  16. ^ "TLC — Silly Ho (Promotional US 12" vinyl)". Discogs. Retrieved November 28, 2016. 
  17. ^ "TLC – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for TLC. Retrieved 2013-01-19.
  18. ^ "TLC – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for TLC. Retrieved 2013-01-19.

External links[edit]