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R&B - Released April 1, 2003 | Columbia


Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 13, 1996 | Columbia

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A breath of fresh air in the gangsta-dominated mid-'90s, the Fugees' breakthrough album, The Score, marked the beginning of a resurgence in alternative hip-hop. Its left-field, multi-platinum success proved there was a substantial untapped audience with an appreciation for rap music but little interest in thug life. The Score's eclecticism, social consciousness, and pop smarts drew millions of latent hip-hop listeners back into the fold, showing just how much the music had grown up. It not only catapulted the Fugees into stardom, but also launched the productive solo careers of Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill, the latter of whom already ranks as one of the top female MCs of all time based on her work here. Not just a collection of individual talents, the Fugees' three MCs all share a crackling chemistry and a wide-ranging taste in music. Their strong fondness for smooth soul and reggae is underscored by the two hit covers given slight hip-hop makeovers (Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly With His Song" and Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry"). Even when they're not relying on easily recognizable tunes, their original material is powered by a raft of indelible hooks, especially the great "Fu-Gee-La"; there are also touches of blues and gospel, and the recognizable samples range from doo wop to Enya. Their protest tracks are often biting, yet tempered with pathos and humanity, whether they're attacking racial profiling among police ("The Beast"), the insecurity behind violent posturing ("Cowboys"), or the inability of many black people in the Western Hemisphere to trace their familial roots ("Family Business"). Yeah, the Chinese restaurant skit is a little dicey, but on the whole, The Score balances intelligence and accessibility with an easy assurance, and ranks as one of the most distinctive hip-hop albums of its era. © Steve Huey /TiVo

Pop/Rock - Released December 29, 2000 | Columbia

As wonderful and compelling as the Fugees were during their brief moment in the sun (circa 1996), it's difficult to make the case for a Fugees Greatest Hits. The trio only put out two records, the first a muddled attempt at weed-soaked hardcore, the second an excellent fusion of hip-hop and soul, so the obvious choice for record-buyers is that final full-length, The Score. This compilation includes seven tracks from The Score, prefacing it with two selections from the 1994 debut (Blunted on Reality) and tacking on Lauryn Hill's first solo recording, "The Sweetest Thing" -- originally on the Love Jones soundtrack and later included on her first album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Anyone interested in hearing what the Fugees sounded like before The Score is subjected to Blunted on Reality's pair of substandard singles ("Vocab," "Nappy Heads"), though wiser compilers would've chosen early songs that paved the way for The Score, like the graceful Hill feature "Some Seek Stardom." Brief and perfunctory, Greatest Hits is, basically, a budget compilation with a more artful cover. © John Bush /TiVo

R&B - Released May 29, 2012 | Columbia - Legacy

Here's the third shot at anthologizing the output of a group that released two proper studio albums. Playlist: The Very Best of Fugees follows Greatest Hits (2003) and This Is the Fugees: Greatest Hits (2010) with a slightly different round of selections. Unsurprisingly, most of the appeal in the disc is in its picks from the five-star mainstream breakthrough The Score (1996); almost half of that album, including "Fu-Gee-La," "Ready or Not," and "Killing Me Softly with His Song" is featured. Three tracks from Blunted on Reality (1994) and two tracks from Bootleg Versions (1996), all reasonable picks, are also here, along with a pair of surprises: the "Good Times"-swiping remix of the debut's "Refugees on the Mic," and the Michael Jackson-swiping digital single "Wanna Be" (2006). © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released February 1, 1994 | Ruffhouse - Columbia

Given the brilliance of The Score and the shortage of Fugees albums in the '90s, many fans probably sought out Blunted on Reality. Those fans no doubt were a little shocked, though, by what they found. Yes, Blunted features Wyclef, Lauryn Hill, and Pras, but it's not quite the same trio that fans of The Score have come to know. Here they offer their take on rap circa 1993. However, rather than use rap as a starting point and depart from there into a myriad of other directions as they did on The Score, they used rap as a starting point and never depart, instead emulating the popular style of the era. In that sense, it comes across as a bit derived and undoubtedly confined by its stifled creative ambitions. If you think back, you'll probably remember 1993 as being the pinnacle of gangsta rap -- Dr. Dre's The Chronic was ubiquitous with not only its reach but also its influence, and Death Row was literally changing the game. If you keep this context in mind, it's a little easier to understand why Blunted on Reality sounds nothing like The Score. It's essentially the Fugees trying to earn respect in an era of gangstas, chronic, bitches, and guns by trying to come across as being hardcore. And, unfortunately, as hard as the Fugees portray themselves here, it can't help but seem a little silly in retrospect. It's an album that is best seen as novelty. Devoted fans may wish to seek it out for curiosity's sake, and that's understandable, but no one should approach this album expecting the prequel to The Score. © Jason Birchmeier /TiVo

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released May 25, 2015 | Refugee Camp


R&B - Released September 22, 2005 | Sony Urban Music - Columbia