Aside from contributing raps to TLC singles, she also made guest appearances on tracks recorded by other artists, including Melanie C, Toni Braxton, Donell Jones, Lil' Kim, 'N Sync, O.F.T.B., Keith Sweat, Will Smith, Blaque and Mya.
On Apir 25, 2002, she was killed in a car crash in Le Ceiba, Honduras. She was the driver of the vehicle when she rolled off the road and was thrown out; she died of severe injuries. The last days of her life were filmed from March 30, 2002 until her death on April 25, including the accident that took her life, were made into a documentary called The Last Days of Left Eye.
TLC started off as a female musical trio named 2nd Nature. The group was later renmaed TLC - drived from the intitials of the first names of the girls in the group - Tionne, Lisa and Crystal. Things did not work out with Crystal Jones, however, and TLC's manager Perri "Pebbles" Reid replaced her with Rozonda Thomas. To retain the TLC name, Rozonda was given the nickname "Chilli", Watkins was given the nickname "T-Boz" and Lopes was given the nickname "Left Eye". Lopes celebrated her nickname by wearing a black mark; often a wrapped condom, in keeping of the group's promotion of safe sex - later evolving to a black stripe under the eye and then an eyebrow ring in her left eyebrow.
The group debuted in 1992 with Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip, which spawned four hit singles and sold six million copies worldwide. The group became even more successful with CrazySexyCool in 1994, which sold over fifteen million copies worldwide and made TLC one of the best selling female music groups of all time. TLC's third album FanMail was released in 1999 and sold over ten million copies worldwide. Its title was a tribute to their fans who sent them fanmail throughout the years.
After FanMail, Lopes began to expand her solo career. She became a featured rapper on several singles, including former Spice Girls member Melanie C's "Never Be the Same Again", which topped the charts in fifty countries, including the United Kingdom. She was also featured on the Donell Jones single "U Know What's Up" and she even contributed a rap verse to the 'N Sync song "Space Cowboy" that is featured on their second studio album No Strings Attached. Lopes also collaborated with Toni Braxton on "Gimme Some" from Braxton's third studio album The Heat. In September 2000, she co-hosted the Music of Black Origin Awards with Trevor Nelson in the UK, where she performed "U Know What's Up" with Donell Jones. In 2001, Lopes appeared in two Gap, Inc. commercials. About nine months before her death, Lopes appeared on the singer's edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire along with Joey McIntyre, Tyrese, Nick Lachey and Lee Ann Womack. She dropped a $125,000 question and won $32,000 for charity.
Lopes founded Lisa Lopes Productions to discover new talent. She helped R&B/Hip-Hop trio Blaque secure a record deal with Columbia Records and their selft-titled debut album was executive produced by Lopes, who also made an appearance on the album and in the group's music video for "I Do". Lopes was also developing another new girl group called Egypt. They worked on her second album under her new nickname N.I.N.A. (New Identity Not Applicable).
In 1998, Lopes opened UNI Studios for the purpose of recording solo projects. Lopes' family opened the studio to the public. So far, her brother Ronald Lopes is the general manager of the studio. Lopes had a dream of making new artists able to record music for a low price at a high end recording studio at her house. Lopes' family continues to operate it and fill it with new equipment.
Lopes spent much of her free time after the conclusion of TLC's FanMail Tour writing and recording her first solo effort Supernova. Initially scheduled for a release on a date to coincide with the tenth anniversary of her father's death, Arista Records decided to delay, then cancel the American release of the album. Supernova was then released between 2001 and 2003 in international countires.
After numerous talks with Death Row Records CEO Surge Knight, Lopes served her solo deal with Arista Records and signed with Knight's Tha Row Records, intending to record a second album under the pseudonym "N.I.N.A." (New Identity Not Applicable). She was recording with David Bowie, who was also trying to get involved with the fourth TLC album. The project was to include several songs recorded with Ray J along with close friend Missy Elliott and remixed versions of songs that were included on Lopes' debut album Supernova. The album's release was cancelled after Lopes' death in April 2002.
In 2008, Lopes' family decided to work with producers at Surefire Music Group to create posthumous album in her honor called Eye Legacy. Originally set to be released on October 28, 2008, the album's release was pushed back to November 11, 2008 and finally to January 27, 2009. The song, "Crank It", which features Lopes' younger sister Reigndrop, was released as a promotional single, preceeding the album's official lead single "Let's Just Do It", which features TLC and Missy Elliott. The second single, "Block Party", features Lil' Mama and Clyde McKnight. The album largely consisted of reworked versions of songs that were included on Lopes' Supernova album.
An unreleased track featuring Lisa Lopes was released on the internet on the eve of the 10th anniversary of her death by Block Starz Music. A porton of the proceeds from the song "Fantasies", which features rapper Bootleg of The Dayton Family, will go to the Lisa Lopes Foundation.
Lopes was often vocal about her personal life and difficult past. She readily admitted that she had come from an abusive, alcoholic background and struggled with alcohol problems herself. These problems became headline news in 1994 when she set fire to Andre Rison's tennis shoe collection, which ultimately spread and burnt down the mansion they shared. Lopes claimed that Rison had beaten her after a night out, and she set fire to his shoes to get back at him. However, she said burning down the house was an accident. Lopes later revealed that she did not have a lot of freedom within the relationship and was abused mentally and physically, having released all her frustrations on the night of the fire.
Lopes, who was sentenced to five year probation and therapy at a halfway house, was never able to shake the incident from her reputation. Her relationship with Rison continued to make headlines, with rumors of an imminent wedding, later rebunked by People magazine. Lopes revealed in The Last Days of Left Eye documentary that her meeting with a struggling mother made a big impression on her. She subsequently adopted the woman's 8-year-old daughter. Ten years previously, she had adopted a twelve-year-old boy (Jamal of the group Illegal).
Lopes had several large tattoos. Most prominent was a large eagle on her left arm, which she said represented freedom. Later, she added the number "80" around the eagle, which was Rison's NFL number while in Atlanta. She also had a tattoo of a moon with a face on her foot in reference to Rison's nickname, Bad Moon. On her upper right arm was a large tattoo of the name Parron, for her late stepbrother who died in a boating accident, arching over a large tattoo of a pierced heart. Her smallest tattoo was on her left ear and consisted of an arrow pointing to her left over the symbol of an eye, a reference to her nickname.
Lopes started the Lisa Lopes Foundation, a charitable group dedicated to providing neglected and abandoned youth with the resources necessary to increase their quality of life. Her spiritual motto is the one that she used for her foundation: "Energy never dies...It just transforms." Her foundation went into various underdeveloped villages and gave away brand new clothes to needy children and their families.
On April 25, 2002 in La Ceiba, Honduras, while driving a rented Mitsubishi Montero Sport around a bent in the road, Lopes swerved to the right slightly, then again to the left as she tried to avoid collision with another vehicle that was in the lane ahead of her. The vehicle rolled several times after hitting two trees, throwing Lopes and three others out of the windows. She died of neck injuries and severe head trauma, and was the only person fatally injured in the accident. Raina Lopes, in the front passenger seat, was videotaping at the time, so the last seconds leading up to the swerve that resulted in the fatal accident were recorded on video.
Her funeral was held at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on May 2, 2002. Thousands of people, including fans, friends and family, attended her funeral and engraved on her casket were the lyrics to her rap verse from "Waterfalls": "Dreams are hopeless aspirations, in hopes of coming true, believe in yourself, the truth is up to me and you". Lopes was buried at Hillandale Memorial Gardens in Lithonia, Georgia.
In a statement to MTV, producer Jermaine Dupri remembered Lopes:
"She was determined to be something in life. She was a true Hip-Hop star. She cared about some press. She was the star out of the group. She was the one who would curse on TV. She had the tattoos. You could not expect the expected. When you see Lisa, you could expect something from her. That is the gift she carried."