You're about to see two words that will make you start humming instantly. Ready for it? No. Scrubs. The TLC track, which was penned by none other than The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Kandi Burruss, is about as catchy as it gets. And even 20 years after it hit the airwaves, it's an impossible-to-resist jam, and a female power anthem of sorts. Just one question: What does it mean?
We finally have an answer to that, thanks to Kandi herself. The Xscape singer recently shared all the melodious details with NPR. It all started, Kandi said, when she was driving around with a friend back in 1998. ""I always like to listen to tracks in my car because I come up with my best ideas when I'm driving," she said. As she and her friend were venting about the guys they were dating at the time, "I started freestyling over the track," Kandi said. "And I was just like, 'A scrub is a guy who thinks he's fly, and is also known as a busta / Always talking about what he wants, and just sits on his fat ass.'" (Imagine just having those lyrics come to you like that!)
At the time, Kandi said that "scrubs" was Atlanta slang for a guy who was, well, basically... a loser. So, Kandi had wanted to write a song called "No Scrubs" for some time. Kandi took the idea to her Xscape bandmate Tameka "Tiny" Harris, and the two recorded a demo, and started distributing it to industry players. Then, the single landed with the ladies of TLC, and the rest is history. Very catchy history.
After the track was released in 1999, it stayed No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list for four weeks. Of course, its legacy persists today. "As women, we go through things every day, all day," Kandi said. "No matter where we go, somebody is gonna try to push up or try to holler at you, and they're not always a gentleman about it. So I feel like this song put it out there ... and it just made women be a little bit more outspoken."
"No Scrubs" isn't the only enduring track Kandi has written. She also penned "Bills, Bills, Bills" for Destiny's Child, and "There You Go" for Pink.