On the Post-The Score Musical Legacy of the Fugees’ Solo Careers

On March 29th 2016 » By Andrew Winistorfer

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We’ve already told you all about how important the Score is, but what you might have missed is that it was the last artifact that Fugees ever made together. They lasted through one okay first album and their classic sophomore effort, and then, with the exception of a reunion tour in 2006, they split up to their varyingly successful solo careers.

As part of your continued education in all things the Fugees before your copy of our April Album of the Monthshows up at your doorstep, here’s a compendium on the post-Fugees career of all three Fugees.


Wyclef Jean


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Of all the Fugees, Wyclef’s post-Fugees musical career has been the longest tenured and most varied, if not the most successful. He started his post-Fugees career fast, dropping Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival a year after The Score. The Carnival is a weird artifact; it’s an album that sold 5 million copies when it came out, but virtually no one remembers anything except for “Gone Till November.” But The Carnival feels like a lost classic; an album that helped bridge the gap between hip-hop and the rest of the world, and I’m sure you can trace the seeds of hip-hop’s global popular culture takeover to The Carnival.

Wyclef has done eight more albums since then, all of them an increasingly more mixed mélange of Caribbean, hip-hop, and whatever other music Wyclef has decided to dable in that year. The Carnival IIwas underrated when it came out in 2007—it featured Paul Simon!!!!--and “If I Was President” was such a big hit he ran for president of Haiti for real. In 2014, he had a huge EDM hit with Avicii in “Divine Sorrow,” which insanely, is the most popular Wyclef song on Spotify. He’s also the only person to be both on The Chapelle’s Show and Nashville.Some of his music has been pretty corny since he left the Fugees, and he’s worked hard to not be taken seriously, but he’s also the only Fugee to commit to moving with the times and make music that is vital to the pop charts and vital to the times.



Lauryn Hill


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Lauryn Hill had the most impactful post-Fugees career, but I don’t need to tell you that, since eight million Americans bought The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill before it was the first rap album to win Album of the Year, and before it got put in the Library of Congress. I can’t really write anything about Miseducation that hasn’t been written a million times already; it’s a classic, Important album, and if you seriously haven’t listened to it, leave this right now and get yourself to Spotify.

Her career since then has been a confounding, disappointing interminable wait. She has released only one album in the 18 years since Miseducation; 2002’s MTV Unplugged 2.0,which was lightly derided when it came out because it seemed like Hill was only performing half-finished, raw songs on an acoustic guitar. Which is totally true, that’s what it was, and in retrospect, it’s the rawest, best Unplugged performance this side of Nirvana’s. It’s all but forgotten now, but it sold a million copies when it came out. It’s a forgotten near-classic that deserves to be held in higher esteem now.

Lauryn’s been mostly a recluse since that album; she’s lived around the country and in Jamaica with Rohan Marley and their five kids, the man she dated from before Miseducationuntil sometime around when she did a three-month prison sentence in 2013 for tax evasion. Since she got out of jail, she’s been playing more frequently, but the reviews have been mixed, to say the least. She did some new music in 2015: she did three tracks on the Nina Simone tribute album, Nina Revisisted.Her version of “Feeling Good” was especially stunning. Rumors abound that she’ll drop a new album soon—partially to pay the I.R.S. Here’s hoping that happens; no one has come close to filling the Lauryn-sized hole in music since she decided to quit.

 



Pras


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Pras has had the least distinguished musical career post-the Fugees. However, he’s the only Fugee with a solo song that will forever signify “the ‘90s!” in a way that Wycelf and Lauryn—despite releasing way more lasting, classic LPs—don’t. Kids born between 1983 and 1989 will forever have “Ghetto Superstar” at every turn up function they have, from grad parties to weddings to funerals (I hope). That’s more than you can say for “Gone Till November” or “Everything is Everything.” Being a one-hit wonder means you lack the critical respect, but you own more hearts and minds.

Pras actually released an album around “Ghetto Supastar,” the on-brand Ghetto Supastar, which struggled for a reason to exist beyond being a solo tip from the guy with the longest parts of “Ghetto Supastar.” Pras released an album in 2005 too, but that didn’t chart, and doesn’t exist on Amazon, Spotify, or anywhere else music is heard on the Internet, though some singles exist on YouTube. Which is all well and good; you don’t need to make new music when your legacy is a song everyone loves hearing and a stone cold classic of the rap form. I bet he’s had the best post-Fugees life, by a mile. No pressure.


 

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Andrew Winistorfer

Andrew Winistorfer

Andrew Winistorfer is Vinyl Me, Please’s Editorial Director, VMP Classics A&R, and an editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection and The Best Record Stores In The United States. He’s written Listening Notes booklets for 13 Vinyl Me, Please Classics releases, and co-produced Nat Turner Rebellion's Laugh to Keep From Crying. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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