Total and Billy B — but of course!

I find so much makeup inspiration in music videos. I just put on some VH1 Soul and let it ride. Bellas, if you ever find yourself stuck in a makeup rut, you just may find a way out by mellowing out with some video classics. To wit — Total. Where the heck are Kima, Keisha, and Pam? They looked absolutely exquisite in the video for Trippin’. Oh, how I have loved this song.

I had to Google that and yes, Billy B. apparently did the makeup for the video. You already know how much I admire him. Look at the faces in that video! Exquisite. Proof that a bold, smokey eye + nude, glossy lip = sexy, sexy, sexy. I love their look in this video. I love that in the early Nineties, it was still considered fly for members of a girl group to rock short hair and distinctive fashion. Compare that to today, when reportedly, super fly British import Estelle is being pressured to change her look to conform to the expected American ten-pounds-of-weave-veneers-and-a-scandalous-outfit standard. That breaks my heart. I adore Estelle, and her quirky style is what drew me to her in the first place!

I miss those good ol’ days when groups like Total and Xscape and SWV proved that talent could win over studio-created image. Those girls were sexy, but it always seemed like it was on their own terms. I miss Total! And because of their work on the hooks of songs like One More Chance and Hypnotize, I hear their voices often and wonder about them.
Total = Friends in my head.

Sadly, there is no Total website, and the only apparent resource, Wikipedia, which has some cleanup to do on this entry, reveals no immediate plans for the girls to regroup. Keisha is happily married to the talented Omar Epps, Pam is a devoted churchgoer, and Kima is still grinding, occasionally collaborating with her sister, the rapper Vita. I couldn’t find even so much as a MySpace. Sad.

What’s your favorite Total song? I know — they had some classics! I love What About Us, too. I’m torn!

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Comments

  1. Wow! The makeup IS flawless. Anyway, My FAVORITE Total songs, aside from this one of course, is “What About Us,” “Sitting Home” and the all time classic “Can’t You See” ft. Biggie (opening lyric: “gimme all the chicken heads from Pasedena to Medina” or something like that). =)

  2. I’ve always liked this video, I always thought it was done rather well. One of my favorite Total songs is “Can’t You See” (with Biggie, of course). Actually, Biggie is the best thing about that song, in my opinion, which is why I love it!

  3. Loved “Can’t You See”…like tanya ^^^ Biggie is why I loved, loved, loved it. Flashbacks to high school and singing this at track meets.

    I also liked “Kissing You”, the song Raphael Saadiq produced for them.

  4. “Can’t You See” and “No One Else” were my joints. And yes, the makeup looks great. And you ain’t lying about the prerequisite weave being the standard. How else are artists supposed to stand apart since talent isn’t important anymore?

  5. My favorite Total song is “Kissing You”, both the original version and the Puffy remix. That is some great summer-time driving around, chillin’ at the cook out music right there! Early 90s artists had an accessible, round the way girl sort of sensuality, but now everyone has to be an aerobicized, airbrushed glamazon to be considered “fine”.

  6. My all time favorite Total cut is “Kissing You”. I was a preteen when it hit the airwaves, and I promised myself that song would be the actual soundtrack to my first kiss.

    *Blushing at my youthful idea*

    Have good days, all.

    Bright

  7. Rockstar Bella says:

    Ok, so what’s really weird is I was watching the same video yesterday on VH1 Soul! We bellas think alik! I was also looking at the video and missing those days when R&B music was R& B music, and did not have any hip hop beats or constant rappers in the video. Just sangin’ (not singing). As for my favorite Total song it would have to be “Kissing you”. It’s the perfect blend of their voices and talent. Wish for those days when girl groups used to stay together…..siigghhhh

  8. Total was the ish for a moment! They had a little flare when it came to the music in the 9Os. People now say they could not sing, but, whatever. Their music still sounded good to me!

  9. LOL @ so many of us jamming to VH1 Soul and stopping to watch this video.

    I adored Total (my favorite song was “When Boy Meets Girl”…it was on their 1st album and was never a radio single, but I loved that song, followed up by “Kissing You”).

    I think my favorite girl group from back then was Xscape. I so wish they would come out with another album! For singing ability, I think Xscape had Total beat, but Total had the Puffy production behind them!

  10. BrightTrotter….
    Me To!
    there were if I recal 3 songs at the time with the title Kissing you…
    Des’ree’ kissing you ( that beyonce remade with the rumble.)And because this was oer 10 years ago I cannot remember the 3rd…..
    I keep thinking that one of these years I will be come a make up person…maybe when I turn 30

  11. nappygwen says:

    They had hot records but were “ear”-ritating live! Just goes to show that good production goes a long way. However, I was really impressed when they evolved their look from black leather gangsta girls to chic pretty women.

  12. My favorite Total song was, “Kissing You”…there is a guitar rift at the end…ah man, melts my heart everytime I hear it….

  13. Hands down…”Kissing You” is my FAVORITE Total song!!

  14. I’m a nerd…. work with me
    The 3rd kissing you was sung by faith on the waiting to exhale soundtrack.
    ( from the previous post of 3 kissing you songs aout at the same time but by 3 different people.)
    Now as I creep to 30 if I could only perfect a smokey eye.

  15. bigheadgurl says:

    i love kissing you… that’s still my jam. SMH@ atlantic records for trying to get estelle to change her style…

  16. I saw Kima a couple years ago in scrubs at George Washington University Hospital. A couple years before that I saw her at my beauty shop…she was friends with a hairdresser who worked there. Without make-up she looked all of 17. And she’s short…like maybe 5′ even. Maybe.

  17. Can’t You See is my favorite along with Kissing You. The 1st time I saw them, I thought they were total fly girls. Thanks for the memories! I miss them and SWV as well. I’m going to have to visit you tube and have some fun.

  18. I’m an old school LLCoolJ fan, so of course, my favorite Total jam is when they sang the hook on “Loungin’”

    Who do ya love (I wanna lounge with you)…are you for sure (I’ll do what I gotta do…

  19. It would have to be Can’t you see ft Biggie. Once you hear that hook, you know its on. And kissin you.

  20. My freshman year roomate made me feel bad about playing Kissing You all the time off of their first CD. Glad to know I was not this only one who loved that song!

  21. HeavenLeiBlu says:

    Another vote for “Kissing You”, with “Can’t You See”, a close second.

    Of course, I’ll be practicing Keisha’s look so I can wear it tomorrow. I have something pretty close to it, today, though. Good grief, I’m loving this new Heatherette Bonus Beat lipglass from MAC! I have the sexiest nude lips right now – I wanna kiss myself! LOL

  22. Let’s keep it real Total had some good songs but they could not sang

  23. Kissing you and can’t you see were HOT!! I loved Total. Man I miss the days when music was really MUSIC! I didn’t know she was married to Omar Epps.
    The best concert I ever saw was in Buffalo Ny and it had Puffy (that was his name then!), Biggie, Total, Mary J, and Jodeci. Man let me say that Bad Boy held it down!! Mary J is crap live and Jodeci was to high to sound good (people were leaving by the time they came on).

  24. HeavenLeiBlu says:

    LOL@ Nicola. you’re right, but they maximized what they had to the hilt. LMAO

  25. hautecocoa says:

    Love Total! Kissing You is my all time fav by them. But I also like What About Us, Can’t You See and the Loungin remix with them on the hook.

  26. I liked Total too. One of my favorite 90′s girl groups was Kut Klose. They had a song with Keith Sweat call Twizted…ahh the high school memories….

  27. Jamillah says:

    Kissing You is my favorite Total jam. They need to get a tour together with some 90′s groups. UNV, SOLO, Portrait, Jade, EnVogue, and others. I miss my damn twenties!!

  28. wow, this takes me back to grade/highg school! i loved the song trippin’,i played that cd to death. r&b today can’t hold a candle to the stuff that was on the radio back then

  29. and kissin you,what about us, cant you see.

  30. as for the makeup in the video…gggggreat! its classic and not overdone.if i were capable of doing my makeup like that, i’d wear it more often.

  31. Without a doubt:

    “Can’t You See” and “Kissing You”. “What About Us” –From the “Soul Food” Movie Sound Track and “Tell Me What You Want From Me” w/ Mase for third and forth choices.

  32. I remember thinking this vid was ultra-sexy and I thought the girls looked GREAT. I was always a big fan of them- Back in HS who wasn’t?!! Keisha was my fav, I can remember a lot of girls going “short” b/c of her.

  33. I am so suprised that no one else said Sitting Home. Remember Pam was living with Ed Lover in the video? That was the jam, the make up was bananas too.

  34. They weren’t the best singers in the world, but they put out some classics! M favorite one by them is “Kissing You”. I still smile every time I hear the guitar in the beginning of that song.

    They had a bunch of other good ones, but that’s at the top of my list.

  35. While I hate that I don’t get VH1 Soul (damn you, time warner cable..it should NOT be a toss up between TV One and VH1 Soul. but I digress..hahahaha), I love love love “Kissing You”…if that song plays in my head on a hot summer day while locking lips with a cutie, oh boyyyy is he in trouble!!! hahahahahahaaaa

    “Can’t You See” just reminds me of my days at Hampton U. Wait, did I just date myself??? hahahahaha

  36. High five to my fellow Hamptonian @ Janelle!

    I was at HU around the time when Total was doing their thing.

  37. flygyrl72 says:

    Ooh! Taking me back! “Kissin You” is my absolute fave Total song. Followed by “What About Us?”, also their flyest video. The styling in there was dope, still looks modern…

    As for Estelle, I love her & she needs to stay the way she is unless she feels like she personally needs a change. But, you know how garbage the record companies over here are, unless you look like a Bey knockoff, they don’t wanna push you over here or assume you won’t sell. You gotta be either extreme, Beyonce/Rihanna or India Arie, I guess…

    And not entirely off the subject, did anyone see last month’s Vogue (the one w/ LeBron on the cover)& their shoot w/ Jill Scott w/ this rid-goddamn-diculous straight hair?! She looks crazy, it looks like a wig. I’m like, What? They can’t put her in there w/ her natural hair?! Which looks MUCH MUCH better. And they didn’t even know how to style her right in regards to clothes that compliment her curves either…horrible…But I still love Jill, not trying to hate on her personally, but the photos were wack. They’d never put a White chick in there looking like that…

    Oh yeah, & I’m with you, Janelle, Time Warner sucks big time for not having VH-1 Soul anymore. I live in LA & it sucks. I’ve seriously considered starting a petition for its re-instatement. Any LA folks w/ me?

  38. If Total got back together, I would go to their concert in a hot minute. The 90s were so fun; all females in the music business (solo and group) didn’t have to be so cookie-cutter.

    Anyway, the Total songs I love are “Trippin,’” “Can’t You See,” “Kissing You,” and “No One Else.” And by the way, I would also co-sign an Xscape, En Vogue or SWV reunion tour.

  39. Shantise says:

    Kissin You and Sitting Home are my fav! What Pam does in Sitting Home reminds me of perfect pay back. I miss the classiness of women (cloths,hair and makeup) and the fella from the 90′s. There is nothing like that from my generation. Every guy thinks he has to be tough. Afrobella I’m sad to hear about Estelle. We need more women like her. Women with personality and their own style/mind.. wearing cloths and the own dang hair!

  40. babyarkansas says:

    KISSING YOU: Kissing you is all that I’ve been thinking of…kissing you is cool, cool! I love that song! AND, I LOVE TOTAL

  41. Kissing you is my all time Favorite Total Song. Love it. That makeup looks amazing.

  42. I’m an older bella at 42 so I grew up on music from the 60′s and 70′s. Yes, Total’s make-up was beautiful in the video, but in my opinion their singing was terrible. I remember when they first came out and all the studio help couldn’t hide the fact that they were often off key. To quote Randy Jackson on American Idol “it was aiight, lotta pitch problems…”.

    Nevertheless, their songs do bring back memories and I find myself singing along cuz the MUSIC was THAT good.

  43. I LOVE that I found this post!!
    It has made my night!
    I LOVE KIESHA, KIMA AND PAM and I miss them!
    I had the pleasure of working with them alot during those years and this video is my favorite too!!
    thanks for the compliments!!
    xoxox
    b

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