The Fugees first arrived on the rap scene in 1994. While Kurt Cobain was busy bringing punk into the mainstream, the Fugees, then called the Tranzlator Crew, sought to combine soul and Caribbean music and create a new kind of hip hop. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel derived the name “Fugees” from ‘refugee,’ a term that was used as a derogative epithet to describe Haitian-Americans at the time. The band came to mainstream prominence in 1996 with the second, and unfortunately final album of the trio’s career together. The Score, released on Columbia Records, reached number one on the Billboard 200 and the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts in no time. The Score won two Grammys, and is still referred to as one of the greatest albums of the 90s, and made it number 447 on Rolling Stone’s top 500 list.
However, in 1997, the trio began drifting apart with each member taking on more and more solo projects. The next time they’d work together would be in 2004 in Bed-Stuy for Dave Chapelle’s Block Party. They went on a European tour together the next year that received mixed reviews. The group, unable to complete their third album as their personal relationship with one another began to deteriorate.
Two days ago, an unreleased song made its way onto the radio station, Hot 97. Lauryn Hill confirmed the song’s authenticity with a mere Tweet, and the Fugees rose from their tomb. Fans must consider it an unexpected delight to hear a song recorded from the Fugees’ heyday, after all hope for new releases had long been lost. The leaked track is perhaps a harbinger of more to come, but let’s leave the rest to Funkmaster Flex.