Ready or Not (Fugees song)

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"Ready or Not"
Fugeesreadyornot.jpg
Single by Fugees
from the album The Score
ReleasedAugust 29, 1996
Recorded1995
GenreHip hop, R&B
Length3:47
LabelRuffhouse
Songwriter(s)Nel Ust Wyclef Jean, Samuel Prakazrel Michel, Lauryn Hill, William Hart, Thomas Bell, Enya, Nicky Ryan, Roma Ryan
Producer(s)Nelust Wyclef Jean, Samuel Prakazrel Michel, Lauryn Hill, Jerry Duplessis
Fugees singles chronology
"Killing Me Softly"
(1996)
"Ready or Not"
(1996)
"No Woman, No Cry"
(1996)
Audio sample
Music video
"Ready or Not" on YouTube

"Ready or Not" is a song by the American hip-hop group Fugees, from their second studio album, The Score (1996). The song contains a sample of "Boadicea" (1987) by Irish singer Enya, and its chorus is based on "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" by The Delfonics. While "Ready or Not" was only a minor success in the United States, the song was most successful in Europe, particularly in Iceland and the United Kingdom, where it topped the charts. The song remained at the top of the charts in Europe for two weeks, becoming the Fugees second chart-topping single in 1996 in Britain, following "Killing Me Softly".[1] Enya was prepared to sue the Fugees for copyright infringement because she had not permitted the group to sample "Boadicea". However, Enya eventually settled out of court.

During Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, Blender magazine published a list of his top 10 songs on the campaign, and "Ready or Not" was his favourite song.[2][3] "Ready or Not" is used in the first theatrical trailer of the 2015 film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.[4]

Background[edit]

The song contains a sample of "Boadicea" by New-Age singer, Enya from her first solo album, Enya (1987). Enya considered suing the Fugees because they had sampled "Boadicea" without her permission.[5] Enya stated, "We were actually on the verge of suing them because of the copyright infringement, because they just didn't approach us. It was a case of, I wasn't featured at all on the credits and it [the sample] was very much a part of the song."[6] However, the singer reached an agreement with the Fugees to an out-of-court settlement after she realized that their music wasn't gangsta rap.[5] According to Wyclef, "Luckily when Enya heard everything, she was like, ‘This is different’ and she gave us a pass – which she don’t even need to do."[7] The situation was a learning experience for the group, who at the time were unaware of copyright clearance and unfamiliar with publishing procedures.[7]

The song's chorus is based on "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" by The Delfonics, which was an addition suggested by Wyclef Jean.[8] Reflecting on the recording process, Pras said: "At one point, the group had disbanded. [Lauryn Hill] had left the group at this point and we didn't know what we were going to do. She calls me and says, 'Listen, I'm going to come down to the studio and I'm going to lay down a reference for you guys, a hook. I give you permission to use my hook, my voice, but I don't want to be a part of this group anymore.' I said, 'Fair enough. No problem.' She said, 'Make sure certain people are not around when I'm there.' I said, 'No problem.' She's laying the reference for 'Ready or Not' and then she goes into the bridge and she's crying. I see her crying. She stops and says, 'I can't do this anymore,' and leaves. A couple months later she re-joins the group. She said, 'Let's do 'Ready or Not' again 'cause I was crying. It was emotional.' She goes in the studio to do 'Ready or Not' again. She was in there five hours doing the hook. Every hit is incredible. But we go back and say, 'There's something about that reference. I don't know if we can touch that.' We end up keeping the reference. That's what the world has come to hear. There's something about that record… That's magic."[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Spin magazine described the song as, "an eerily ambient flow of confused musings (Jean), confident harmonies (Hill), and immigrant pride (Michel), tapped insistently into your consciousness by a simple snare beat."[10] Larry Flick of Billboard wrote the song was, "far more representative of the act's vibe", and that "this cut nicely illustrates its lyrical strength as well as its talent for switching from smooth soul singing to sharp rapping within the space of a few seconds."[11]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Ready or Not" was directed by Marcus Nispel.[12] Vibe reported that the video helped usher in the era of bank-breaking, movie-like hip-hop videos. The video featured helicopters, explosions, sharks, chase scenes, and a price tag of 1.3 million US dollars. In justifying the cost, Pras told Vibe "People want to see drama, man. You figure: A kid pays sixteen dollars for your CD. Let him see a good video." [13]

Notable cover versions[edit]

Track listings[edit]

UK CD1

  1. "Ready or Not" (radio version) – 3:47
  2. "Ready or Not" (Salaam's Ready for the Show Remix) – 4:24
  3. "Ready or Not" (Handel's Yaard Vibe Mix) – 4:41
  4. "The Score" – 4:32

UK CD2

  1. "Ready or Not" (album version) – 3:50
  2. "How Many Mics" – 4:23
  3. "Freestyle" – 5:03
  4. "Blame It on the Sun" – 5:41

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Platinum 600,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Fugees UK chart info OfficialCharts.com. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  2. ^ Coplon, Jon. "White House DJ Battle". Blender.com. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "Music Picks From Obama, McCain". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  4. ^ "Mission Impossible 5 - Rogue Nation | official trailer (2015) Tom Cruise M:i 5". moviemanicsDE channel on YouTube. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b Rolling Stone. 20 Great Albums Turning 20 in 2016. Rolling Stone. 2016-01-12. Retrieved on 2016-03-27.
  6. ^ Ness, Jimmy (June 20, 2016). "A Conversation With Enya About Sampling, The Nature Of Fame, And How To Control Your Career". Forbes. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Williams, Marcel (2017-08-31). "Wyclef Jean Breaks Down His Biggest Records & Reveals How "The Score" Was Almost Shelved". HipHopDX. Cheri Media Group. Retrieved 2017-09-02.
  8. ^ "Fugees Producer Jerry Wonder Talks About The 16th Anniversary of "The Score"". Complex. February 14, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  9. ^ Ramirez, Erika (March 31, 2014). "Ladies First: 31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  10. ^ "The Year in Music - Band of the Year". Spin: 54. January 1997. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  11. ^ Flick, Larry (August 24, 1996). "Singles". Billboard: 113. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  12. ^ Foege, Alec (September 5, 1996). "The Fugees: Leaders of the New Cool". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Gimme the Loot Vibe, February 1998
  14. ^ The Course UK chart info OfficialCharts.com. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  15. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Fugees – Ready or Not". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  16. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Fugees – Ready or Not" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Fugees – Ready or Not" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – Fugees – Ready or Not" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9788." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 9117." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  21. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 42. October 19, 1996. p. 18. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  22. ^ "Euro Chart Hot 100" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 39. September 28, 1996. p. 20. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  23. ^ "Fugees: Ready or Not" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  24. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Fugees – Ready or Not". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  25. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 171 Vikuna 25.5. – 30.5. '96)". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). May 25, 1996. p. 26. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Ready or Not". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  27. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 40. October 5, 1996. p. 20. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  28. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 38, 1996" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  29. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Fugees – Ready or Not" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  30. ^ "Charts.nz – Fugees – Ready or Not". Top 40 Singles.
  31. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Fugees – Ready or Not". VG-lista.
  32. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  33. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Fugees – Ready or Not". Singles Top 100.
  34. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Fugees – Ready or Not". Swiss Singles Chart.
  35. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  36. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  37. ^ "Fugees Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay)". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Fugees Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  39. ^ "Lescharts.com – Fugees – Ready or Not" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  40. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles 1996". ARIA. Archived from the original on November 2, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  41. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1996" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  42. ^ "Rapports annuels 1996" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  43. ^ "Music & Media 1996 in Review – Year End Sales Charts" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 13 no. 51/52. December 21, 1996. p. 12. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  44. ^ "Top 100 Single–Jahrescharts 1996" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  45. ^ "Árslistinn 1996". Dagblaðið Vísir (in Icelandic). January 2, 1997. p. 25. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  46. ^ "Top 100–Jaaroverzicht van 1996". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  47. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1996" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  48. ^ "End of Year Charts 1996". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  49. ^ "Årslista Singlar, 1996" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 30, 2020.
  50. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1996". Music Week. January 18, 1997. p. 25.
  51. ^ "British single certifications – Fugees – Ready or Not". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 15, 2020.

External links[edit]