This year, TLC’s classic anthem “Waterfalls” turns 18 years old (it’s legal!) In celebration, the group re-recorded the song for release in Japan — take a listen to it below. If you get to where the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ verse normally is and find it unfamiliar, you haven’t lost it; surviving members Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozanda “Chili” Thomas enlisted Japanese singer Namie Amuro to deliver (read: whisper) Lopes’ rhymes.
Not surprisingly, that little edit to “Waterfalls” has landed the duo in a bit of hot water with Lopes’ family and fans. Speaking to TMZ, Lopes’ sister, the awesomely-named Reigndrop Lopes, said she was caught off guard by the rework, adding, “I did not know about it until a fan posted it online. I mean it would have been nice if they would have given us a heads up before being surprised.” Reigndrop Lopes adds that despite the sting, the family’s alright with the song as long as it remains a Japanese-only release.
The Lopes family may be copacetic for now, but several fans are already reacting harshly. “Wow they just killed a classic.. dolllar dollar bills y’all,” wrote YouTube commenter Ernest Richards. Meanwhile, Twitter user @Missbrainbuster wrote, “Namie is not a rapper so it’s to be expected that this wasn’t going to end up well. Most of us fans don’t even know why this collab happened.” What say you: is it a worthwhile celebration of an iconic jam or should they have, hmm, stuck to the rivers and the lakes they were used to?
Despite the controversy, Watkins and Thomas have made efforts to keep Lopes’ memory an integral part of their reunion plans. At their upcoming gig at the Mixtape Festival, their first show in over four years, the duo planned to display Lopes’ “image on a big screen and work her vocals into the live performances.” The Mixtape Festival takes place July 26th 27th in Hersheypark, PA.
If you need to, cleanse your pallet with the original: