This trio’s 1999 hit isn’t their best-selling song, but it’s the key to unlocking what made them so special. They are a great candidate for the best girl group of all time and if you go by pure chart success, by sales, they ARE the biggest.
By 1999, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas are famous—MTV famous, Grammy famous and Billboard chart famous
Today’s song was the first single off their third album, 1999’s FanMail, which debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard album chart, and sold 6 million copies in America alone. This song was the no. 1 song in America for seven weeks.
The title of today’s song came from a term popular in Atlanta at the time, which was slang for a guy with no purpose, no prospects, no couth.
Chilli says she knew it would be a hit the first time she heard it, because even though the term was regional to Atlanta, the idea was universal. "A scrub is just a bum guy, you know?" she says. "You don't want to bring him home."
During their first national tour, as MC Hammer's opening act, this girl trio had to cancel some dates when one of the members revealed she was battling Sickle Cell Anemia. It had been a closely guarded secret until then but by the late 90’s she became a spokesperson for the SIckle Cell Disease Association.
This group was smart about marketing today’s single. This song was released in two versions, one with Left Eye's rap verse and one without. This strategy ensured the song would get airplay on a variety of radio stations, regardless of format.
As for the song’s message to no good men everywhere, Chili put it best "I always say, the guys getting upset ARE the scrubs. If you're not a scrub, then ... a hit dog will holler, right?" she laughs. "So, if that's not who you are, then you shouldn't be getting upset."