Left Eye’s Producer Shares Details on Planned Solo Album
It’s no secret that TLC member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was working on a solo album for Death Row Records under the moniker N.I.N.A. (New Identity Not Applicable) before her untimely death in April 2002. But in a new interview with L.A. Weekly, Left Eye’s last producer, Darren Vegas, reveals some interesting information about the unfinished project.
For starters, the Atlanta-born singer-rapper was working with a diverse group of collaborators, including David Bowie, Missy Elliott, *NSYNC and Juvenile. Dr. Dre‘s longtime percussionist, former P-Funk member Carl “Butch” Small, and Tupac‘s personal engineer Tommy Daugherty were also involved in the album. With Left Eye traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Honduras, though, only a handful of songs were cut.
The music Lopes did create, however, was pretty innovative, according to Vegas. “She just seemed real determined to have the world hear a solo album,” he said. “The stuff we were working on, we weren’t copying what she had done [with TLC]. We were creating a brand new sound.”
Despite being portrayed as a wild and unpredictable party animal — a reputation that she carried for most of her time in the spotlight — in VH1’s recent TLC biopic, ‘CrazySexyCool,’ Vegas remembered Left Eye as a calm and sober character during her brief time on Death Row. In fact, she even helped some of the label’s other artists lay off the juice.
“Her vibe was real cool,” he said. “I expected her to be all wild and stuff from what I’d heard, [but] she was real laid-back and calm. I saw in the movie how she was drinking and all that. When she was [signed] she didn’t drink at all. She was on a cleanse, and she actually got artists at Death Row to do cleansings, as she was back and forth to Honduras.”
Following Lopes’ tragic passing, Vegas, alongside fellow engineer, Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.’s Monster O, were forced to patch the remaining material that was recorded for the N.I.N.A. album together. Don’t get your hopes up about hearing anything soon, though; when asked about the whereabouts of the master tracks, he replied, “I don’t know who has ’em.”
That’s a damn shame because Vegas believed the album was destined for greatness: “We were gonna make a multi-platinum album.” You get the feeling he wasn’t just saying that because he worked on it either.