One of the most talented and perplexing groups of the 1990s, the quartet Xscape arose from Atlanta as teenagers with a hip-hop look and vocal harmonies that went on for days. Consisting of sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott along with Tameka “Tiny” Cottle and Kandi Burress (and, briefly, childhood friend Tamera Coggins), Xscape became the first act signed to producer Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def record label, and they came out with a bang.

    Xscape’s 1993 debut album, Hummin Comin’ at ‘Cha went platinum, fueled by two #1 hits, “Just Kickin’ It” and the ballad “Understanding.” Xscape had a fresh, baggy-pants hip-hop look that won them both fans and some sexist derision. But by their follow-up album, Off The Hook, they sported a sleeker, sexier look to go along with another solid album of hits. “Feels So Good” became their first true dance single, and their cover of The Jones Girls’ classic ballad, “Who Can I Turn To,” shot to #1 and became the group’s signature song.

    Unfortunately, by the time of Xscape’s third and most commercially focused album, Traces of My Lipstick, infighting overshadowed the quartet’s musical harmony, though the disc became their third consecutive platinum album, and landed hits with “My Little Secret,” “The Arms of the One Who Loves You” and a cover of Atlantic Starr’s “Am I Dreaming” (with Keith Sweat). LaTocha Scott had developed into the most prominent lead singer, and began work on a solo album, leaving the group. Shockingly, despite Xscape’s consistent success, the internal pressure became too much and the group disbanded in 1998.

    After the split, Burress and Cottle focused on songwriting, and together penned the Grammy Award winning single for TLC, “No Scrubs.” LaTocha Scott’s solo album was shelved, and never released. And Tamika Scott became a regular onstage in musicals.

    In 2005, the Scott sisters and Cottle reformed Xscape with new singer Kiesha Miles (Burress declined to participate), and released the single, “What’s Up” for the Atlanta soundtrack. But the group soon split again. And while various incarnations came together over the next decade, the original four members never again until the 2017 BET Awards. While hope sprang for a more permanent reunion, Burress elected out, and Cottle and the Scott sisters formed the new act XSCAP3 and released the EP Here For It in 2018. Tamika Scott also released solo music in 2019.

    By Chris Rizik

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