Ready or Not (Fugees song)
|"Ready or Not"|
|Single by Fugees|
|from the album The Score|
|Released||August 29, 1996|
|Genre||Hip hop, R&B|
|Songwriter(s)||Nelust 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|
"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" from Enya (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 a minor hit in the Fugees' native United States, the song was most successful in Europe, particularly in Iceland and the United Kingdom, where it topped the charts. It remained at that position for two weeks, becoming their second chart-topping single of 1996 in Britain, following "Killing Me Softly". Enya was prepared to sue the group for copyright infringement, because she had not permitted the group to sample "Boadicea". She eventually settled out of court.
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. She 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." However, the singer reached an agreement with Fugees to an a out-of-court settlement after she realized that their music wasn't gangsta rap. 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." The situation was a learning experience for the group, who at the time were unaware of copyright clearance and unfamiliar with publishing procedures.
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 member Wyclef Jean. 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."
Spin 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." 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."
Vibe reported that the Fugees' "Ready or Not" 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." 
- The song was covered by British-Dutch house music artist The Course. It charted at number five on the UK Singles Chart in April 1997.
- The Fray did a cover of this song on their album Scars & Stories.
- Meek Mill remixed this song on his mixtape Dreamchasers 2.
- DJ Zinc (Ganja records) sampled the chorus on his jungle track "Fugees or Not".
- Lil' Kim sampled the chorus on "Whenever You See Me" from her mixtape Hardcore 2K14.
- Kasabian covered the song at concerts in May 2016.
- Drum and bass DJ's Dominator and Logan D made an unofficial remix of this song in 2016.
- "Ready or Not" (radio version) – 3:47
- "Ready or Not" (Salaam's Ready for the Show Remix) – 4:24
- "Ready or Not" (Handel's Yaard Vibe Mix) – 4:41
- "The Score" – 4:32
- "Ready or Not" (album version) – 3:50
- "How Many Mics" – 4:23
- "Freestyle" – 5:03
- "Blame It on the Sun" – 5:41
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||600,000|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- Flick, Larry (August 24, 1996). "Singles". Billboard: 113. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
- Gimme the Loot Vibe, February 1998
- The Course UK chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
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- "Fugees: Ready or Not" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
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- "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 171 Vikuna 25.5. - 30.5. '96)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Fugees" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
- "Charts.nz – Fugees – Ready or Not". Top 40 Singles.
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