Featuring everything from politics to physics, the 90s hip-hop act sold millions with The Score and brought Lauryn Hill to much deserved fame. Here are some of their finest songs
It took the erstwhile Tranzlator Crew two years to get their first album released. When the Blunted on Reality album arrived in 1994 the initial impression it gave was of a group following the emerging traditions of post-golden-age “true-school” rap. It was solid and occasionally spectacular music, yet possessed as much globe-conquering star quality as that of their similarly politically outspoken labelmates, the Goats. The debut laid out the Fugees’ singular stall, several tracks tackling the racism Pras Michél and Wyclef Jean experienced in New York, with Brooklyn-born Lauryn Hill talking about how her American friends were prejudiced against her Haitian-refugee bandmates. The record sold poorly but plenty on it is excellent: in particular, the second single, Nappy Heads, is a treat. Over a pugilistic backing track built from Albert King and Earth, Wind and Fire samples, each rapper gives a bravura performance, Clef bouncing through a Louis Armstrong impression during an opening verse that rains syllables on the naysayers, while Hill’s first appearance – four lines inserted in the middle of a longer verse from an animatedly belligerent Pras – hints at the greatness to come.