Vol 63: the queens of r&b
she went from platinum 💿 to answering 📞 for $9/hr
Hey friend. It’s been a minute, right?!
I’ve missed us, but I wanted to ensure our next lunch date was 1000% worth the wait. If you’ve noticed, our lunch “schedule” has gone out the window. Lunch happens when it happens, k, k. 🙃
What’s been happening in your world lately?
I don’t even know where to begin as far as life updates, but here are some cliff notes:
We went to all but one march madness [women’s] tournament game. While our undefeated season ended in the final four, I am still so proud of our team. AND we had 5 players drafted in the top 25 😜
JJ gave several side eyes to the easter bunny
My husband’s birthday was on the 15th
I finished three books - beautiful little fools, what lies in the woods, one true loves
The rest of this month is rather chill, and I look forward to some quiet moments before the summer begins to shift my make-believe wig.
Okay. Today’s topic is one I have been very excited about.
In another life, I would have been a full-time entertainment blogger. Recapping my favorite TV shows, albums, movies, and books with my no-filter commentary.
So when a bish saw the trailer for Bravo’s SWV & Xscape: The Queens of R&B after Candiace said Gizelle has white privilege during the RHOP szn 7 reunion, I felt like my moment had finally arrived to do a series recap.
Since Monday Lunch has begun, I’ve mentioned Xscape five times and SWV twice.
For the rest of lunch today, I will share my chaotic recap and commentary on the six-episode featuring one of my favorite (Xscape) girl groups of the 90s.
Buckle up ho, and get ready to laugh.
Disclaimer: The below commentary is somewhat of an order, but also several random AF thoughts. I hope you can follow; if not, just read and have fun with it.
The biggest shock of this miniseries came from SWV. Coco said, “we don’t talk to each other,” so subtly in the first episode.
Coko is the group, if we honest. But more on this later.
Coko left the group, and when she realized she couldn’t do it solo, she told them to come back. AND THEM HOES WENT BACK!!!
But of course they did. What else were they going to do?
This series made me love Lelee hard. Lelee is your everyday jawn. There is an authenticity to her that is very unique. Her storytelling draws you in. I feel like I am right beside her when she is reminiscing. And the girl only has red solo cups in her kitchen. 😜
Taj is the peacekeeper, and I love her family.
The fact that SWV all live in different cities further confirmed Coko’s “we don’t talk” comment.
Taj lives in Nashville. She and her family never left after they moved there when her husband, Eddie George, got drafted by the Titans in ‘96.
Lelee lives in Atlanta, which is to be expected after really seeing her personality.
But what threw me for a loop was Coko living in Virginia Beach. I didn’t expect that one. With her giant ego, I assumed she would be living in a major [Black] music hub. Virginia Beach is home to some notable musicians, so I guess it’s not a total loop, but still.
One thing is for sure, Coko always lets the viewers know that she treats the group like a job and not like they all homegirls and kiki every day. I guess this is not surprising because all the magazines reported SWV’s split as Coko’s fault.
Coko shared that in 2017 she was diagnosed with bipolar depression. She said she knew she needed help when she was actually thinking of killing someone. You could see in her eyes she was not lying one bit.
During their rehearsals for the show, Coko said she didn’t have enough meds for the confrontation between her group and Xscape. It was written all over her face that she wanted to fight. At that moment, I was like, oh, she frfr need her meds.
This is the group’s 2nd appearance on Bravo. Their first series, Xscape: Still kickin’ it, aired in 2019.
That series gave us (me) a first look into the shambles of this group’s synergy. And some of it still lingers.
From jump Tocha been jealous of Kandi.
Kandi just had a way with things, and I think Kandi’s sound back then (keyword - back then) was preferred. But Tocha always had a stronger voice, and I still think she sings better than Kandi, but she is not strong enough to go solo.
And neither is Kandi!
That’s why she has so many businesses and stays on reality tv, and is relevant in the media because she knows writing songs for other artists is the closest she will get to a high-level singing career again. I do think Kandi was mad that Tocha was singing more leads. But, again, she is the better singer.
Kandi be trying to put out a single here and there, but she doesn’t try to make that full-time.
Tocha seems to have forgotten her place. This main character energy she is giving all season is gross. 🤮
She is so jealous of Kandi.
Deep down, I think she thinks Kandi stole her life. Like she was supposed to be doing what Kandi does, not her. Todd even confirms this theory during one of the episodes.
“She [Tocha] can’t get past what you’ve become and what she’s become.” - Todd Tucker
Tocha is still reliving trauma from 1998.
She (still) struggles with being comfortable in her body, even after she has lost a considerable amount of weight.
She is STILL accusing Kandi of getting her solo project delayed for her project.
When Tocha got her little solo deal when they were younger, she had the audacity to tell Tamika & Tiny to just go on and keep having more babies, I am going to be a star. And that bish FLOPPED.
Even if Tocha's project came out back then, she wouldn’t have been as big of a star as she thinks. Hate to say it, but it’s the truth.
Sister Hot Pussy is Lelee’s alter ego. Sis is in the process of writing an erotica book that will be turned into an audiobook. Her motivation for this comes after SWV broke up.
Listen, I love it. I’ve read several Zane books. I am always down for a freaky read. So whenever that drops, I will absolutely support her. She got me thinking, do I want to write a salacious adult book?! 🤔
Coko was very trifling back then.
At one point, no one was talking to Taj because Coko told them not to. So they would perform, and then everyone would gather together, and Taj would be left alone.
Talk about a mean bitch!
Lelee used to sleep in the parking lot at Yankee Stadium. When she told this story on Bethany in 2018, Coko had this idgaf face.
First of all WHO booked them to go on Bethany?! I know there were other options available. But I guess a check is a check.
When the group split in ‘98, Coko went on to release her only solo hit, Sunshine, which was a bop, then she flopped.
Lelee was working at an office building, barely making any money. And Taj followed suit, answering phones for $9.
Can you imagine that?! One day you are on some of the biggest stages, and the next, you are sleeping in a parking lot or taking messages for $9/hr.
Baaaaaabbbbbyyyyeeeeeee… this HOT TEA about Rocky and Tocha stealing royalty money from Tamika. It’s true. There is no way this isn’t true.
Tocha & Tamika's (T&T) mother would never leave a message on her child’s VM talking about she going beat Tamika if she lays a hand on Tocha. You can see in that woman’s spirit that she had a strong favoritism toward one child, which is not right.
T&T mom is wild, talking about she is the 5th member.
Now I get it, to an extent. Xscape was young when they first started, so of course, their parent (mom) was heavily involved, as they should be. But as time passes and these women grow into adults, you should understand your role.
But now, as I think about it, Xscape was probably just as much a part of their mama’s identity as theirs. Still no excuse for her behavior.
If you watched the series, the dinner table scene (pictured above) ended heartfeltly. Tamika stood up to her mother, which is SO hard to do; trust me, I’ve done it. At 40-something, this was her first time ever putting her foot down, and it shook her mom, but also gave her a reality check.
While they embraced each other in a deep hug, my favorite song, Tonight, played in the background, which was excellent production. 🥂 to whoever made that decision, probably Todd.
Since I learned about Rocky’s (Tocha husband) ways, I felt he was a low-down dirty scammer.
Not only do I believe that they stole Tamika’s royalty check, but I also wholeheartedly believe he was getting secret kickbacks when booking reunion shows for Xscape.
We have NO CLUE what Rocky & Tocha do for money. Every other member has openly shared what they or their partner have been doing since Xscape broke up in ‘98.
Tiny had T.I. and wrote songs with Kandi; people forget Tiny had a part in writing No Scrubs. In addition to No Scrubs, Kandi also wrote hits like Bills, Bills, Bills for Destiny’s Child, and There You Go by Pink. Kandi became an industry staple. Now I am not sure what Tamika has been doing, but her husband is a bodyguard to celebrities. So we know she was getting some sort of check.
As far as we know, Rocky was Xscape & Tocha’s music manager. So he only gets a cut when it has to do with them. Soooo…..buddy def was skimming somewhere.
Tocha looks like she wants to blink for help.
The hold this man has on his wife is a little unsettling. Listen, you can’t tell me nothing about my husband, but also, I am not just going to let him say or do whatever, especially when it has to do with my business.
Kandi and Todd would never.
Did anyone peep Tocha signing one sheet of loose-leaf paper that is allegedly a contract for Motown Gospel?!
Now I’ve never signed a music contract before, but I am pretty sure it is more than one page, and usually, there is a line where you sign and date, not just in an empty blank space at the bottom of ONE PAGE.
I have nothing against gospel artists, or secular artist turning to gospel. But Tocha trying to do gospel is so desperate. She doesn’t want to do gospel, but she is taking whatever she can get at this point.
Who is headlining the show?
This show filmed the bts for a one-night-only show in Ontario, CA, featuring both iconic groups.
One of the tussles they had during this was who would headline the show or co-headline. Of course, each group feels as if they can headline.
SWV says the only reason Xscape can headline now is because Tiny and Kandi are on tv. “They wasn’t headlining back in the 90s.”
True, but that’s because they got a fucked up deal and never had the chance to let their music live on; they just broke up. Xscape never made it to their touring era.
I think the drama of who is headline was dumb, and it should have been a co-headline from the jump. It did get a rise off the girls tho.
Coko was living in her who-sold-the-most-records-era when this debate began.
SWV has sold more. They had more albums to sell and even started three years (1988) ahead of Xscape (1991).
Ultimately, they co-headlined but had one more debate on the show closer.
Weak vs. Understanding
There is no comparison, Weak is the better song. But Understanding won the final song. Wrong choice if you ask me. But the Sisters With Voices decided to be classy and let the younger jawns have their ending moment.
SWV and Xscape have two different vibes when they perform.
SWV was more laid back and performed like you would do at a festival when your set is only 10 minutes long. Xscape’s performance was more on the concert brand.
When this was brought up, Lelee said,” I don’t care about none of that shit, we here to sing our songs.”
We saw a good bit of the one-night-only show, and Xscape stole the evening. Yes the crowd was hype to see SWV, but their performance gave off “we are here so we don’t get fined” energy.
Random moments from the mini-series
I love all of the flashbacks and memory recaps.
One of my favorites is when Tamika told the story about hearing Taj sing lead on Use Your Heart. It was the first time we heard her singing more than background.
I love Coko’s son.
I really wish Tiny would have left her face and body alone.
And finally, the theatrics of Tocha having her own “house” and not staying at the hotel with everyone else, with her low-budget chef who didn’t even dare to toast the flour tortillas for their tacos, is not it.
She trying to make a statement like this how she travels now she got a record deal. I can’t with her.
She even got someone following her around to brush her hair while walking. This crowd of flunkies following her looks so lame and desperate. Something a low-budget star would do.
If it sounds like I am coming down hard on Tocha, it is because I am. Her ego is nasty. Since Xscape resurfaced in 2017, her attitude has been the same. And that lets me know she has always been this way.
Well friend?! What did you think? Did you have fun today? I hope so, because I enjoyed it.
Before we go, I want to know who’s your favorite of the two 👇🏽
Have a beautiful Monday. See you soon.
p.s. this is not the last time you will hear about these two groups. sooooo much has been left unsaid, but that will be another lunch date 🙃