TLC don't own the rights to Left Eye's music

The surviving members of TLC had no choice but to omit LISA 'LEFT EYE' LOPES' original rap from a new recording of their classic hit WATERFALLS because they do not own the rights to her masters.

Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins and Rozanda 'Chilli' Thomas recently came under fire by the rapper's relatives after recruiting Japanese R&B star Namie Amuro to sing in the place of their late bandmate to mark their 20th anniversary.

Lopes' mother was said to be "hurt" by the duo's decision to cut the tragic star from its signature tune, 11 years after Left Eye was killed in a car crash in Honduras - but Watkins and Thomas insist that wasn't the case.

Thomas reveals TLC had multiple requests to use Lopes' verse denied and tells TMZ.com, "We were forced to use (this) creative way to honor Lisa's memory and celebrate this milestone with the fans."

In a joint statement, the pair adds, "We have and always will protect our sister's legacy as TLC consists of the three of us collectively... there will never be a replacement for Lisa or any members in TLC."

According to TMZ, Thomas and Watkins reached out to Lopes' brother, Ron, before deciding to include the re-worked version of Waterfalls on their greatest hits album TLC 20, which was recently released in Japan.

At press time, it was not yet clear who owns the recording rights to Lopes' masters.

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