The Fugees Biography
The Fugees are an American hip hop group that started in the early 1990s. Wyclef Jean, Pras Michel, and Lauryn Hill make up the group, which gets its name from a contraction of the word “refugees.” The Score (1996), the group’s second album, became one of the best-selling albums of all time. The group is widely regarded as one of the most influential alternative hip hop acts of the 1990s.
Ruffhouse Records, distributed by Columbia Records, signed the trio in 1993. The following year, the group released Blunted on Reality (1994), which got largely positive reviews and featured the Salaam Remi-remixed underground singles “Nappy Heads” and “Vocab.” They followed it up with The Score (1996), their second and final studio album, which was a huge success, reaching number one on the US Billboard 200 chart and being certified seven times platinum in the US. It was widely praised and is regarded as one of the best hip hop albums of all time, with the hit singles “Killing Me Softly,” “Ready or Not,” and “Fu-Gee-La.” Following that, the Fugees released the single “Rumble in the Jungle,” which reached number three in the UK and featured Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, and John Forté. The trio split in 1997 to allow its members to pursue separate careers. The Fugees reunited for reunion tours in 2004 and 2021.
The group began working together in the late 1980s in South Orange, New Jersey, where Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel Michel (“Pras”) were high school pals. In 1993, Michel’s cousin Wyclef Jean joined the Tranzlator Crew, which was signed to Ruffhouse/Columbia. They entered the studio to record their first official full-length, Blunted on Reality, after dubbing themselves the Fugees (a word of scorn, short for refugees, which was traditionally used to disparage Haitian immigrants). Hill, Jean, and Michel traded rhymes in a method akin to A Tribe Called Quest, Poor Righteous Teachers, and Digable Planets on the album, which was released in early 1994 and featured a beat-driven, hip-hop crew sound. While the album was a fan favorite on the underground circuit, it failed to chart, and they went in a different (but ultimately more successful) direction with their follow-up.
The Score was released in 1996 and was an immediate success. The album topped charts all over the world and was certified multi-platinum in Europe and the United States, retaining elements of their earlier jazz-rap vibe but introducing traditional R&B that accentuated Hill’s singing ability. The Score made tremendous inroads into the commercial mainstream while maintaining their existing fan base, becoming one of the surprise hits of 1996 with the soulful, chart-topping single “Killing Me Softly” and a top 40 cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.” The Fugees won Best Rap Album and Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group at the 1997 Grammy Awards for “Killing Me Softly.”
The Fugees took a pause after the success of The Score, exploring solo projects that finally led to a permanent hiatus. The Carnival Featuring the Refugee Allstars was Jean’s first solo album, released in 1997, when Michel collaborated with Mya and Ol’ Dirty Bastard on the popular single “Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are).” Hill’s chart-topping neo-soul masterwork The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which outsold The Score and won five Grammy Awards in 1999, was released in 1998. While Hill retired while still at the height of her career, Pras continued to rap and dabbled in acting and film production. Meanwhile, Jean continues to create solo albums (he has over a dozen) and produce for other singers, including Destiny’s Child, Santana, Shakira, Young Thug, and many others.
They reunited in 2005, almost a decade after their pinnacle with The Score, for a European tour and the release of the single “Take It Easy.” However, the reunion was short-lived, and the group split up again. While their time together was brief, The Score remains one of the most critically regarded albums of all time, and each Fugee remained active for decades afterward, both musically and politically.
The Fugees are one of the best-selling hip hop groups of all time, having sold over 22 million albums worldwide. MTV named it the tenth best hip-hop group of all time in 2007. They were termed “the hip hop Beatles” by Bono of U2. BET named the group to their list of “Hip Hop’s Greatest Trios” in 2012. Two Grammy Awards and a Brit Award for International Group have been bestowed upon the Fugees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Was The Leader Of Fugees?
The leader of Fugees was Lauryn Hill. She is a singer, rapper, and songwriter who helped the group achieve success with their unique blend of hip hop, soul, and reggae. Hill’s powerful vocal performances and thoughtful lyrics helped make the Fugees one of the most successful groups of the 1990s.
Who Is The Female Singer In The Fugees?
The female singer in the Fugees is Lauryn Hill. She is also a solo artist and has won numerous awards, including five Grammy Awards.
What Is The Famous Song Of The Fugees?
“Killing Me Softly” is the most famous song of the Fugees. Released in 1996, it topped the charts in several countries and won several awards, including a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
What The Genre Of The Fugees?
The Fugees are a hip-hop group who rose to prominence in the mid-1990s. The group’s musical style combines elements of soul, reggae, and hip-hop.