The Fugees, a trio from
New Jersey (female rapper and singer Lauryn Hill,
Prakazrel "Pras" Michel, Haitian-born male rapper Wyclef "Clef" Jean) were
one of the most significant hip-hop acts of the 1990s.
They debuted with a mediocre album, Blunted on Reality (1993), that
was still derivative of gangsta-rap (despite the intuitions of Vocab
and Temple), but
The Score (1996) fused hip-hop with jazz, rhythm'n'blues
and reggae at a deeper level
(although it mainly "scored" thanks to two commercial covers).
Unlike so many rappers who were independent intellectuals pretending to be
crowd-pleasers, the Fugees were fundamentally crowd-pleasers who pretended to
be independent intellectuals.
Family Business singlehandedly established Hill as a major (female)
figure in rap music.
Lauryn Hill went on to a distinguished solo career.
Wyclef Jean's solo career was basically a continuation of the pan-ethnic
and pan-stylistic aesthetics of the Fugees, although wed to a utopian
philosophy of universal love.
The Carnival (1997) was a virtual tour of the black world, from
Cuba to New Orleans to Jamaica to Africa, besides boasting eccentric
arrangements (the orchestral Gone Till November);
but, again, it relied on cute covers to sell the concept to the masses.
The Ecleftic - 2 Sides II a Book (2000)
Masquerade (2002) extended his fusion project to
country, folk and pop music.
Carnival II - Memoirs Of An Immigrant (2007) is a case of split
personality, with Sweetest Girl and Heaven's in New York
and especially Fast Car (a duet with singer-songwriter Paul Simon) aiming for simple universal emotions, while
Hollywood Meets Bollywood, a collaboration with Indian composer Aadesh Shrivastava, and the lengthy Touch Your Button Carnival Jam
reveal austere ambitions of glory.
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