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Background information
Also known as The Rap Translators, also later known as Tranzlator Crew
Refugee Camp
Origin West Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
Years active 1994–1997, 2004–2009
Labels Ruffhouse/Columbia Records
Website Official Fugees Website
Former members
Lauryn Hill
Wyclef Jean

The Fugees (pronounced /ˈfuːdʒiːz/) were an American hip hop group who rose to fame in the mid-1990s. Their repertoire included elements of Hip hop, soul and Caribbean music, particularly reggae. The members of the group are rapper/singer/producer Wyclef Jean, rapper/singer/producer Lauryn Hill, and rapper Pras Michel. Deriving their name from the term refugee, Jean and Pras are Haitian American, while Hill is American. The group recorded two albums—one of which, The Score (1996), was a multi-platinum and Grammy-winning success—before disbanding in 1997 and 2009. Hill and Jean each went on to successful solo recording careers; Michel focused on soundtrack recordings and acting, though he found commercial success with his song "Ghetto Supastar." In 2007, MTV ranked them the 9th greatest Hip-hop group of all time.[1]



The trio released their first LP, Blunted on Reality, in 1994 under the guidance of legendary Kool and the Gang's producer Ronald khalis Bell. The album spawned two underground hits, "Nappy Heads (Mona Lisa)" and "Vocab", but gained little mainstream attention, although it had an unmistakable artistic quality and a very innovative approach in the use of samples.[2] The musical qualities of this first opus would be rediscovered, after the release of their second album The Score which appeared in early1996.

The Score became one of the biggest hits of 1996 and one of the best-selling hip hop albums of all time. The Fugees first gained attention for their cover versions of old favorites, with the group's reinterpretations of "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley & the Wailers and "Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Roberta Flack, the latter being their biggest hit. The album also included a re-interpretation of The Delfonics' "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide From Love)" in their hit single, "Ready or Not", which featured a prominent sample of Enya's Boadicea without the singer's permission. This prompted a lawsuit resulting in a settlement where Enya was given credit and royalties for her sample. The Fugees have continuously thanked and praised Enya for her deep understanding of the situation, for example in the liner notes for The Score. The Fugees won two 1997 Grammy Awards with The Score (Best Rap Album) and "Killing Me Softly" (Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group).

In 1997, the Fugees all began solo projects: Hill started work on her critically acclaimed The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; Jean began producing for a number of artists (including Canibus, Destiny's Child and Carlos Santana) and recorded his debut album The Carnival; Pras, with Mya and Ol' Dirty Bastard, recorded the single "Ghetto Supastar" for the soundtrack to the Warren Beatty/Halle Berry film Bulworth.

Refugee Camp, while a name sometimes credited to the trio, also refers to a number of artists affiliated with them, and particularly Jean. John Forté was an early member, rapping and drum programming on two of The Score's tracks, and served a 14-year prison sentence for cocaine trafficking until his sentence was commuted in November 2008 by George W. Bush.

Short-lived reunion

The three Fugees reunited and performed on September 18, 2004 at the concert in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn featured in the film Dave Chappelle's Block Party, headlining a star-studded bill that included Kanye West, Mos Def, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Common, Big Daddy Kane, Dead Prez, Cody ChestnuTT and John Legend. Their performance received mostly positive reviews, many of which praised Hill's near a cappella rendition of "Killing Me Softly".

The Fugees would make their first televised appearance in almost ten years at BET's 2005 Music Awards on June 28, opening the show with a twelve minute set. With a new album announced to be in the works, one track, "Take It Easy", was leaked online and eventually released as an Internet single on September 27, 2005. It peaked at #40 on the Billboard R&B Chart and was met with poor reviews, noting its radical departure from the Fugees' sound.

In 2005, the Fugees embarked on a European tour—their first together since 1997—from November 30 to December 20, playing in Finland, Austria, Norway, Germany, Italy, France, England, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Slovakia. The tour received mixed reviews. On February 6, 2006, the group reunited for a free show in Hollywood, with tickets given away to about 8,000 fans by local radio stations. Later that month, a new track called "Foxy" leaked, a song dubbed the "REAL return of the Fugees" by several online MP3 blogs. Dave Chappelle, the Fugees and the rest of the film's line-up also toured several cities in February and March, under the moniker Block Party All-Stars featuring Dave Chappelle, in promotion of the film's release.

However, following the reunion tour, the album that was said to be in the works did not materialize and was postponed indefinitely as relationships between band members apparently deteriorated. During an interview with, Michel confirmed that the group was "straight dead". He indicated this was due to Hill having "some things she needs to deal with." In August 2007, he reiterated this, stating, "Before I work with Lauryn Hill again, you will have a better chance of seeing Osama Bin Laden and [George W.] Bush in Starbucks having a latte, discussing foreign policies, before there will be a Fugees reunion."



Year Title Chart positions Certifications & WW Sales
1994 Blunted on Reality 62
1996 The Score 1 1 2
  • US: 6x Platinum
  • UK: 4x Platinum
  • CAN: 5x Platinum
  • WW sales: 18,048,445+
Bootleg Versions 127 50 55
2003 Greatest Hits


Year Song Chart positions[3] Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. Rap UK Italy Singles Chart
1994 "Boof Baf" Blunted on Reality
1994 "Nappy Heads (Remix)" 49 52 12 172
"Vocab" 91 22
1996 "Fu-Gee-La" 29 13 2 21 The Score
"Killing Me Softly"A 2 1 1 1
"Ready or Not"A 69 22 1 6
"No Woman, No Cry"A(with Stephen Marley) 38 58 2 16
1997 "Rumble in the Jungle"A(feat. A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes & John Forté) 71 3 3 When We Were Kings soundtrack
2005 "Take It Easy" 119A 40 Non-album single

As a featured guest

Year Song Chart positions[4] Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. Rap
1997 "Hip-Hopera" (Bounty Killer feat. Fugees) 81 54 14 My Xperience
  • A Did not chart on the Hot 100 or Hot R&B/Hip-Hop charts (Billboard rules at the time prevented album cuts from charting). Chart peak listed here represents Hot 100 Airplay and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts data.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Weheliye, Alexander G. Phonographies:Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity, Duke University Press, 2005.
  3. ^ Artist Chart History. Billboard. Accessed August 9, 2007.
  4. ^ Artist Chart History. Billboard. Accessed August 9, 2007.

External links

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