This song is about a woman who is not happy with her man, so she sneaks around ("Creeps") and cheats on him.
This uses a sample from Slick Rick's 1988 song "Hey Young World."
This was written and produced by the Atlanta-based producer Dallas Austin. Though he had already made a name for himself working alongside producers like L.A. Reid and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and hot acts like Another Bad Creation and Bell Biv DeVoe, "Creep" would be an important song for Austin because it proved he could write from a female perspective.
The trio had mixed feelings about the adulterous relationship portrayed in the lyrics. Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins thought the subject was an important one. She told Billboard: "We thought that was a good relationship to talk about because a lot of people don't admit that's how they feel - that their man's playing on them and they want to be with him so they seek attention elsewhere, but they really want to be with their guy."
But Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who was on probation for setting her boyfriend's (pro football player Andre Rison) house on fire, didn't like the idea and refused to contribute a rap to the song. Austin remembered: "The reason there's not a rap on it is because Lisa said, 'Dallas, I don't want this to offend people personally. I don't want it to interfere with my relationships. If he thinks I'm doing this, it's going to cause problems and I'm making a record out of it.'"
Left Eye also didn't believe in an eye-for-an-eye when it came to cheating. She threatened to protest the single by wearing black tape over her mouth in the video.
Austin held onto the song for six months because he thought it might be too corny, but when he couldn't get it out of his head, he decided to record it.
This won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1996. It was also nominated for Best R&B Song but lost to Stevie Wonder's "For Your Love."
The music video shows the group hanging out in their pajamas while T-Boz gets friendly with a trumpet player (played by former Janet Jackson dancer Omar Lopez). Two other videos were made, but went unreleased, including one that follows Chilli and T-Boz cheating on their boyfriends while Left Eye dances by herself.
TLC performed this on Saturday Night Live on the May 6, 1995 episode hosted by Bob Saget.
This was used in the 1995 movie Waiting to Exhale, starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon.
This was used in the TV series New York Undercover in the 1995 episode "CAT."
The song was inspired by a situation that T-Boz found herself in. "'Creep,' unfortunately, was one of my true stories," she told Billboard magazine with a laugh. "You're with a guy and he's not showing you attention, so another guy comes along and you're like, 'Hey, if you were where you were supposed to be, he couldn't be showing me attention right now!' I was in the middle of this drama, because the other guy was [my boyfriend's] friend, and my boyfriend was just not getting it together."
T-Boz shared her personal state of affairs with Dallas Austin, whom she grew up with in Atlanta, and Austin in turn penned "Creep."