When you think of girl groups from the 90s, we’re sure Xscape has got to be at the top of your list. Their rise to fame was remarkable. To this day, they’re still making headlines, going on tours, and even participating in reality TV shows.
The Atlanta-based group, comprised of Kandi Burruss, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle-Harris, LaTocha Scott-Bivens, and Tamika Scott, started their careers in the church choir. They got their big break in 1990 after performing at the birthday party of producer and rapper, Jermaine Dupri. The group left him so impressed that he immediately signed them to his label, So So Def Recordings.
They released their first single, “Just Kickin’ It,” in the summer of 1993. A staple in the soundtrack of the 90s, it rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Xscape’s debut album, Hummin’ Comin’ At Cha’, went platinum and housed more of the group’s most iconic tracks like “Understanding” and “Tonight.”
The success of their freshmen and sophomore albums paved the path to their success and put them on the same level as other famous girl groups at that time. But all that glitters isn’t gold, and their journey as a girl group hasn’t always been easy. In 1998, following the release of their third album, Traces of My Lipstick, Xscape broke up due to rising internal conflicts.
Now, there are various versions of why the first breakup happened. If you ask LaTocha, she’ll say that Kandi’s involvement with Jermaine is what caused tension and drove the group apart. If you ask Kandi, she’ll argue that LaTocha’s husband, Rocky Bivens, participated in inappropriate activities while being their manager which led LaTocha to distance and prioritize herself.
But Dupri revealed in an episode of Uncensored that he believes he is partly to blame for Xscape’s breakup. Not because he was giving Kandi special treatment, whom he was dating at the time, but because he switched up the group’s initial vision. “Xscape was Tocha’s group” he explained. “Whoever’s group it is, that means they think they’re the lead singer. They meet Jermaine Dupri, and Jermaine Dupri writes a song, and he gives the song to Kandi because Kandi’s voice sounds like mine. It’s no other reason that I gave it to her besides the fact that I wanted her to sing the way I was having T-Boz sing. That created friction from jump.”
However, the ‘Kandi doesn’t get special treatment’ narrative was hard for LaTocha to believe.
LaTocha had expressed interest in creating a solo project. She announced it to the group, but Kandi advised her not to do it. In an interview with Audacy. LaTocha explained that not long after her solo project had been shelved, Kandi released her debut solo project Hey Kandi. LaTocha believed it had something to do with Kandi and Jermaine’s relationship. Kandi has tried to clear the air that she had nothing to do with LaTocha’s album being shelved, citing that they weren’t even signed to the same record label at the time.
In an effort to defend her sister, Tamika, in an interview at a New York radio station, said that Kandi was the real reason for the group’s demise because she slept with both Jermaine Dupri and his father, Michael Mauldin. Tamika has since apologized for spreading the false narrative.
It wasn’t until 2017 that the group finally reunited to perform at the BET Awards and to film their limited series with Bravo, Xscape: Still Kickin’ It. Back in early March, Bravo premiered a new show following the R&B queens along with fellow 90s group, SWV. SWV & Xscape: The Queens of R&B follows the lives of the groups as they curate performances together, but the reality show has deviated far from its original goal.
The show has unloaded all the group drama while also airing out never-heard-before dirty laundry. In a heated episode between the Scott sisters, Tamika accused Rocky (LaTocha’s husband) of stealing $30,000 from her while she was pregnant with her first child. While LaTocha reassures her husband hasn’t stolen anything from anyone, Tamika continues to plead her case. As the series has continued, there have been various conversations about Rocky getting “kickbacks”—extra money on the side, from the shows he has booked for the group.
Where does this leave Xscape now? Who knows? But we all wish the best for this talented group of women and hope that time will eventually heal wounds that have festered for years.