The Fugees Are Reuniting For The Score 25th Anniversary Tour
As Hip-Hop legends and veterans are passing at an alarming rate during the last year, the culture has received some positive news. The Fugees have announced a reunion in the form of a tour celebrating the 25th-anniversary of their Grammy Award-winning sophomore album, The Score.
Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras have reunited for a dozen international dates, including a November 26 stop in the crew’s Newark, New Jersey backyard. Notably, the tour begins tomorrow (September 22) at a still-secret New York City location.
JUST ANNOUNCED! Diaspora Calling Presents: FUGEES The Score 25th Anniversary Tour! @Mslaurynhill, @wyclef & @prasmichel are reuniting on 11/28! Tickets go on sale Friday @ 10am. pic.twitter.com/lr7xyreLF9
— Capital One Arena (@CapitalOneArena) September 21, 2021
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“The Fugees have a complex but impactful history,” Lauryn Hill said in a press statement. “I wasn’t even aware the 25th anniversary had arrived until someone brought it to my attention. I decided to honor this significant project, its anniversary, and the fans who appreciated the music by creating a peaceful platform where we could unite, perform the music we loved, and set an example of reconciliation for the world.” This summer, Hill dazzled fans with a very rare rapping guest verse on Nas’ “Nobody” (embedded below).
“As I celebrate 25 years with the Fugees, my first memory was that we vowed, from the gate, we would not just do music we would be a movement,” Wyclef Jean said in his statement. “We would be a voice for the unheard, and in these challenging times, I am grateful once again, that God has brought us together.”
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The Fugees have reunited in the past, for performances and songs. The trio famously appeared in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party in 2004. In 2017, Wyclef proclaimed that only Dave Chappelle was capable of bringing together the former Ruffhouse Records band. That same year, Ms. Hill confirmed that a leaked song was old, adding cryptic commentary that she suspected she knew who was behind the unauthorized release of “The Ish.” Previously, a 2005 song, “Take It Easy,” arrived.
Released February 13, 1996, The Score transcended an underground group to international stardom. Following a tepid commercial response to 1994’s Blunted On Reality, the Fugees worked with Wyclef’s new production partner, Jerry Duplessis, as well as Salaam Remi, Diamond D, and others. The chart-topping album emphasized Lauryn Hill’s singing abilities, and inserted the trio into a pop song-sampling trend that had become a winning formula for Bad Boy, Death Row, and other Rap movements. It reportedly gained success after breakthrough single “Killing Me Softly,” an update of Roberta Flack’s ’70s ballad, was leaked to radio.
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The LP was subsequently nominated for “Album of the Year” at the 39th Grammy Awards, while it took home “Best Rap Album,” besting (onetime rival) Tupac, A Tribe Called Quest, LL Cool J, and Coolio.
In 2016, Pras revealed to VladTV how The Fugees benefited from a business move surrounding The Score—something they hope to do with this tour. “The smartest thing we ever did: the advance we took was so minimal. On a second album, just to give you perspective—out of the $135,000, the three of us only walked away with $1,200, each. That’s nothing.” Putting most of the money into the album’s creation, the Fugees yielded a time-tested product on low overhead. “By the time they go to they release this album, [the label costs were] maybe at a million. But by the third month, we were already at two million albums [sold]; worldwide were at like six [million]. So they made all their money.” While artists are subject to pay back the advance and other expenses, Pras implies that the Fugees were flush almost immediately. That also means that much of the album revenue went to the artists. “Because the up-front money was so low, and the return was great. I learned from that; I don’t even like advances—on anything.”
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Notably, despite its dividends and acclaim, The Score marked the second and final album for the crew. By 1997, the trio disbanded to pursue celebrated solo careers.
#BonusBeat: The official Ambrosia For Heads playlist, featuring “Nobody” by Nas featuring Ms. Lauryn Hill: