Pras Details Being Caught In The Middle Of Lauryn Hill & Wyclef’s Problems (Video)
N.W.A., A Tribe Called Quest, and the Goodie Mob all parted ways at critical periods of fame. Compared to The Fugees, however, perhaps only Outkast can claim to have disbanded at such commercial heights. Following 1996’s The Score sophomore album, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras would apparently disband. Save for some on-stage reunions (including an appearance in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party), the New Jersey trio would never follow up their massive success, complete with Grammy Awards, #1 chart appearances, and sales figures (22 million, so says Pras) that many believe make the album a diamond-seller, even if never certified.
Speaking with Vlad TV’s DJ Vlad, Pras clarifies when The Fugees truly called it quits—and it’s not in the ’90s—as many fans and historians believe. In discussing that fallout, Pras also explains his unique position, given a long-rumored love affair between Lauryn and Wyclef. Vlad asks some prying questions that many fans may want to know surrounding The Fugees, especially in the two years following their smash hit album.
Vlad asks Pras about how he handled turmoil within the group during a rumored affair between the married Wyclef Jean and his songstress band-mate Lauryn Hill. “I knew there was riffing going around, but I was focused, man. I was trying to get this money, to be honest with you,” begins Pras several minutes into the interview. “My goal at that time was: I’m going to do everything I can to make sure from this point til’ I die [that] I never have a need or a worry, financially. So all this other shit, that’s for the birds.” Prodded further, Pras reveals why he did not choose sides surrounded by a group that he compares to a sinking ship. “You gotta remember: Wyclef is my boy at the time. Like, we’re like brothers. And Lauryn is my girl, because I went and got her from her mom’s house when she was only 12, 13 years old. I told the mother that I would protect her daughter. So this is my man; this is like my sister—they got whatever [going on] at that time, denying it. You feel little things. They’re like, ‘No, it’s not happening.’ You hear things. So what side do you jump on? You tell dude, ‘Yo, be careful. You don’t want to disrupt what’s going on here. You may think you’ve got it under control. These things never end well. How do [I] know? There’s about a thousand groups that tried that before us, and it almost never worked well. I’m just saying.’ Then you go to my girl, like, ‘Yo, you sure? Just be careful.’ So I gotta play neutral because I can’t be the one to seem like I’m agitating anything. So my thing was, before this Titanic goes and sinks, I gotta get my life-vest.”
While many people assume that the solo records that followed from all three members marked the end, Pras says for official purposes, that is not true. “To be honest with you, [The Fugees] didn’t break up when everybody thought the group broke up. [Laughs] The group didn’t really break up until like 2004, or 2005. Even though we didn’t make any [new] records, the group technically [was together]. It wasn’t like, ‘Okay, we’re not together.’ It was like, ‘We did that to get a break.'” Asked to elaborate on the fallout, the Haitian-American declares, “Ego is a mothafucka.”
While Lauryn Hill and Wyclef Jean distanced themselves, Pras—like George Harrison or Ringo Starr in The Beatles, maintained relations with his band-mates. “Lauryn and I, we’ve always been cool. I mean, I’m not saying I talk to her every day. But we’ve always been cool. But obviously—look, her situation with homeboy put a little bit of strain on her. I’m sure there were times where she maybe felt a bit abandoned [by] me—a sense of abandonment. And I can understand why. Other than that, we’ve always been cool.” Although not credited on L-Boogie’s solo debut, Pras takes it one step further. “Just to let you know, I heard [The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill] before it ever was out. I was around during the process of when she was making it. I thought it was gonna be a huge album. I was really happy for her.”
Vlad then questions Pras on what he felt surrounding the LP’s second track “Lost Ones,” long believed to be a nameless diss from Hill to Jean. “I thought it was dope,” he says. Vlad then asks Pras to recall Wyclef’s reaction to a song that accused its target of greed, ego, and artistic inferiority. “When that record came out, I remember him saying…I mean, obviously, he thought it was about him. But I think he just kinda shrugged it off. ‘It’s whateva.'”
Elsewhere in the interview, the veteran MC/producer recalls his mistake costing the group $3 million in a sample settlement with Enya.
On a related note, yesterday (October 14), Wyclef Jean released an update of his song “If I Was President” in time for the 2016 election: