The Score (Fugees album)

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The Score
Fugees - The Score.png
Studio album by Fugees
Released February 13, 1996 (1996-02-13)
Recorded June–November 1995
Genre Alternative hip hop[1]
Length 60:52
Label
Producer
Fugees chronology
Blunted on Reality
(1994)Blunted on Reality1994
The Score
(1996)
Bootleg Versions
(1996)Bootleg Versions1996
Singles from The Score
  1. "Fu-Gee-La"
    Released: January 9, 1996
  2. "Killing Me Softly"
    Released: May 31, 1996
  3. "Ready or Not"
    Released: September 2, 1996
  4. "No Woman, No Cry"
    Released: December 5, 1996

The Score is the second and final studio album by the hip hop trio Fugees, released worldwide February 13, 1996 on Columbia Records. The album features a wide range of samples and instrumentation, with many aspects of alternative hip hop that would come to dominate the hip hop music scene in the mid-late 1990s. The Score's production was handled mostly by the Fugees themselves and Jerry Duplessis, with additional production from Salaam Remi, John Forté, Diamond D, and Shawn King. The album's guest raps are from Outsidaz members Rah Digga, Young Zee and Pacewon, as well as Omega, John Forté, and Diamond D. Most versions of the album feature four bonus tracks, including three remixes of "Fu-Gee-La", and a short acoustic Wyclef Jean solo track entitled "Mista Mista".

Upon its release, The Score was a commercial success, peaking at the number one spot on both the Billboard 200, and the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart (it was a number-one album on the latter in 1996 on the year-end chart). The singles "Killing Me Softly", "Fu-Gee-La", and "Ready or Not" also achieved notable chart success, and helped the group achieve worldwide recognition. On October 3, 1997, The Score was certified six times platinum in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In addition to receiving mostly favorable reviews upon its release, the album has garnered a considerable amount of acclaim over the years, with many music critics and publications noting it as one of the greatest albums of the 1990s, as well as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. In 1998, the album was included in The Source's 100 best rap albums list, and in 2003, it was ranked number 477 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album at the 39th Annual Grammy Awards.

Background[edit]

Although the Fugees' previous album Blunted on Reality proved to be critically and commercially unsuccessful, Chris Schwartz, head of Ruffhouse Records, decided to give the group another chance. In early 1995, he gave them a $135,000 advance and granted them complete artistic control for a follow-up album.[2] The group used the money for recording equipment and set up a studio in Wyclef's uncle's basement, which they referred to as Booga Basement.[3]

Recording for the album began in June 1995, and extended into November[4] at what Wyclef described as a "relaxed pace" by stating "It was done calmly, almost unconsciously. There wasn't any pressure - it was like "let's make some music," and it just started forming into something amazing. It sounded like a feel-good hip hop record to us, and it was different than what anyone was doing at the time. It was three kids from an urban background expressing themselves."[5]

In regard to The Score's unified themes and production, Lauryn commented "It's an audio film. It's like how radio was back in the 1940s. It tells a story, and there are cuts and breaks in the music. It's almost like a hip hop version of Tommy, like what The Who did for rock music."[6]

Music[edit]

The Score was produced by a variety of producers including each member of the Fugees as well as Diamond D, Salaam Remi and Jerry Duplessis. Although most tracks are built on sampled melodies, live instrumentation and DJing are incorporated into multiple tracks. Wyclef Jean plays the guitar on "Family Business", while DJ Scribble scratches on "Manifest/Outro". Nevertheless, samples are the predominant production tool on The Score. "Fu-Gee-La" incorporates a sample of Teena Marie's "Ooh La La La", and is interpolated in the song's chorus. "Ready or Not" also contains a sample that is interpolated; "Ready or Not (Here I Come)" by The Delfonics. "Manifest/Outro" contains a sample from "Rock Dis Funky Joint" by Poor Righteous Teachers, while the title track contains vocal samples from every track on the entire album.

Three official singles were released in promotion of The Score, the first of which was "Fu-Gee-La". The single was released January 9, 1996 and peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 13 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and number 2 on the Hot Rap Songs chart.[7] The song was produced by Salaam Remi and includes elements of "Ooo La La La" as performed by Teena Marie.

The second single, "Killing Me Softly" was released May 31, 1996. Proving to be the most successful single from the album, it instantly reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as number one on the UK Singles Chart.[7] Initially, the song was to be titled "Killing Them Softly", and though alluding to Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel's "Killing Me Softly with His Song", it was originally not intended to be a cover; however, the original writers refused permission for the rewrite of their song, but did allow the Fugees to do a cover version.[8] In 1997, "Killing Me Softly" won the Fugees a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by Duo or group.[9]

The third and final single released for the album was "Ready or Not", released September 2, 1996. In the US the song was the least successful of all the singles from the album, only peaking at number 34 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart.[7] It found far more success in Europe, especially in the UK where it became their second number 1 in the Official Singles Chart, staying at the top for two weeks.[10] The track interpolates "Ready or Not, Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" as performed by The Delfonics, and also samples Enya's "Boadicea". Initially this sample was uncredited, and Enya was prepared to sue for copyright infringement, however decided not to when she discovered that the Fugees were not gangsta rappers.[11] In a later interview, Fugees member Pras described the recording of "Ready or Not", stating "The three of us was each going through some pain. Lauryn was crying when she did her vocals. It was unbelievable. To see her singing with tears coming out of her eyes, it made me want to cry too."[4]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[12]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[13]
Christgau's Consumer Guide A[14]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[15]
Entertainment Weekly A[16]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[17]
Q 4/5 stars[18]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[19]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars[20]
Spin 9/10[21]

Upon its release, The Score received critical acclaim. Entertainment Weekly writer James Bernard commented "What a shock: a smooth, well-produced rap album that doesn't have Dr. Dre's fingerprints on it [...] The Score showcases their acrobatic lyrical techniques and restless intelligence, and unlike much East Coast rap, The Score feels warm and intimate — partly because the instruments are live but also because the Fugees sound so relaxed and casual."[16] Robert Christgau from The Village Voice called it "so beautiful and funny its courage could make you weep", and said the Fugees possess "black humanism" and "the gender-equality formula in which one girl learning equals two guys calling the shots".[1] Steve Huey from Allmusic wrote that "Even when they're not relying on easily recognizable tunes, their original material is powered by a raft of indelible hooks [...] The Score balances intelligence and accessibility with an easy assurance, and ranks as one of the most distinctive hip-hop albums of its era."[12] Cheo Hodari Coker from the Los Angeles Times wrote that "The Score succeeds on all counts", while the Fugees are as fluid a rap group since A Tribe Called Quest: "Their specialty is matching a gymnastic rhyme flow and rock-solid beats with expert crooning."[17] Spin commented "A sense of organic interaction is the hallmark of this album [....] the album's most important factor is its beats; chest-shaking, obscure-texture-having, freestyle-friendly beats."[21] Q described the album as "An impressively panoramic soundscape."[18]

In a mixed review, Rolling Stone writer Ann Powers commented "The Fugees' roots in reggae gives them a solid base in song and a basic philosophy that's richer than the money-or-nothing ethic that dulls much of rap these days. Without being sanctimonious, The Score paints the ghetto as a mythical landscape, one that can inspire pride as well as sorrow. Like Wu-Tang Clan, the Fugees view the world as their movie, complete with stunts and special effects."[19] Jon Pareles of The New York Times found the group's "vision of ghetto life" both eccentric and realistic, although he felt "Killing Me Softly" sounds "out of place amid the hard-nosed surrealism".[22]

Accolades[edit]

  • Information regarding accolades is extracted from Acclaimedmusic.net,[23]except for accolades with additional sources.
  • (*) Signifies unordered lists
Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
About.com United States 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums[24] 2008 18
Best Rap Albums of 1996[25] 2008 5
BigO Singapore Albums of the Year 1996 34
Blender United States 500 CDs You Must Own Before You Die 2003 *
Ego Trip Hip Hop's 25 Greatest Albums by Year 1980–98 1999 5
Elvis Costello United Kingdom 500 Albums You Need 2000 *
Expressen Sweden The 100 Best Records Ever 1999 100
Eye Weekly Canada Albums of the Year 1996 15
Face United kingdom Albums of the Year 1996 1
Helsingin Sanomat Finland 50th Anniversary of Rock 2004 *
Hip-Hop Connection United Kingdom The 100 Greatest Rap Albums 1995–2005 2005 15
Juice Australia The 100 (+34) Greatest Albums of the 90s 1999 64
Mixmag United kingdom Albums of the Year 1996 2
Mojo Albums of the Year 1996 15
The Mojo Collection (3rd and/or 4th Edition) 03/07 *
Muzik Albums of the Year 1996 3
The New Nation Top 100 Albums by Black Artists 2005 34
NME United States 1996 Crits Poll 1996 22
United Kingdom Albums of the Year 1996 22
Nude as the News United States The 100 Most Compelling Albums of the 90s 1999 97
OOR Netherlands Albums of the Year 1996 38
Pause & Play United States The 90s Top 100 Essential Albums 1999 11
Plásticos y Decibelios Spain The 80 Best Albums of All Time 2000 68
Pop Sweden Albums of the Year 1996 1
Pure Pop Mexico Albums of the Year 1996 10
Q United Kingdom Albums of the Year 1996 *
90 best Albums of the 90s 1999 *
Record Collector 10 Classic Albums from 21 Genres for the 21st Century 2000 *
Robert Dimery United States 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[26] 2005 *
Rock Sound France Albums of the Year 1996 24
Rolling Stone United States Albums of the Year 1996 10
The Essential Recordings of the 90s 1999 *
The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 2003 477
100 Best Albums of the Nineties[27] 2011 44
The Source 100 Best Rap Albums[28] 1998 *
The Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time[29] 2006 34
Spex Germany Albums of the Year 1996 41
Spin United States 20 Best Albums of '96 1996 2
Top 90 Albums of the 90s 1999 17
Tom Moon 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die[30] 2008 *
Various Writers Albums: 50 Years of Great Recordings 2005 *
Vibe 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century 1999 *
The Village Voice Albums of the Year 1996 2
Vox United Kingdom Albums of the Year 1996 15
VPRO Netherlands 299 Nominations of the Best Album of All Time 2006 *
Yediot Ahonot Israel Top 99 Albums of All Time 1999 74

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Red Intro"     1:51
2. "How Many Mics" 4:28
3. "Ready or Not"
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
3:47
4. "Zealots"
  • Jean
  • Michel
  • Hill
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
4:20
5. "The Beast"
  • Jean
  • Michel
  • Hill
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
5:37
6. "Fu-Gee-La"
Remi 4:20
7. "Family Business" (featuring John Forté and Omega)
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Forté
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
5:43
8. "Killing Me Softly"
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
4:58
9. "The Score" (featuring Diamond D)
5:02
10. "The Mask"
  • Jean
  • Michel
  • Hill
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
4:50
11. "Cowboys" (featuring Pace 1, Young Zee and Ra Digga)
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Forté
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
5:23
12. "No Woman, No Cry" Vincent Ford
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
4:33
13. "Manifest" / "Outro"
  • Jean
  • Michel
  • Hill
  • Wyclef
  • Hill
  • Pras[a]
  • Te Bass[a]
5:59
Total length: 60:52

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer.
  • Interludes performed by Talent, Wil Shannon Briggs and Ras Baraka.
  • Intro performed by Red Alert and Ras Baraka.
  • Outro performed by Red Alert.

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Preceded by
Fairweather Johnson by Hootie & the Blowfish
Billboard 200 number-one album
May 25 – June 21, 1996
Succeeded by
Load by Metallica

Awards[edit]

The Score earned the Fugees two Grammy Awards in 1996.[9]

Nomination Award Result
"Killing Me Softly" Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won
The Score Best Rap Album Won

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (April 9, 1996). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ Coleman, Brian. 2008. P. 213–214
  3. ^ Coleman, Brian. 2008. P.214
  4. ^ a b Furman; Leah, Elina. 1999. P.86
  5. ^ Coleman, Brian. 2008. P.215
  6. ^ Furman; Leah, Elina. 1999. P.78
  7. ^ a b c The Score Singles Billboard Peak Positions. AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  8. ^ Nickson, Chris, 1999. P. 74–75
  9. ^ a b The Score Grammy Awards. Allmusic. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  10. ^ http://www.officialcharts.com/artist/32663/fugees/
  11. ^ "Irish Voice article at archive.org". February 18, 1997. Archived from the original on April 7, 2005. Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  12. ^ a b Huey, Steve. "The Score – Fugees". AllMusic. Retrieved September 21, 2009. 
  13. ^ Kot, Greg (March 14, 1996). "Fugees: The Score (Ruffhouse)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). "Fugees: The Score". Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  16. ^ a b Bernard, James (February 16, 1996). "The Score". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 21, 2009. 
  17. ^ a b Coker, Cheo Hodari (February 24, 1996). "Versatile Fugees Wrap Up Some Classics". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 21, 2009. (Subscription required (help)). 
  18. ^ a b "Fugees: The Score". Q (115): 109. April 1996. 
  19. ^ a b Powers, Ann (March 21, 1996). "The Score". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 21, 2009. 
  20. ^ Sarig, Roni (2004). "Fugees". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 316. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  21. ^ a b Hinds, Selwyn Seyfu (March 1996). "The Fugees: The Score". Spin. New York. 11 (12): 113. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  22. ^ Pareles, Jon (February 13, 1996). "Fugees: 'The Score'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2009. 
  23. ^ The Score album accolades. acclaimedmusic.net. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  24. ^ Adaso, Henry. About.com's 100 Greatest Rap Albums. About.com. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  25. ^ Adaso, Henry. About.com's Best Rap Albums of 1996. About.com. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  26. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  27. ^ 100 Best Albums of the Nineties. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  28. ^ Columnist. The Sources 100 Best Rap Albums. The Source. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  29. ^ Columnist. The Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine.. The Source. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  30. ^ Moon, Tom. 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Tom Moon. Retrieved 2010-04-16.
  31. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Fugees – The Score". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  32. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Fugees – The Score" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  33. ^ "Ultratop.be – Fugees – The Score" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  34. ^ "Ultratop.be – Fugees – The Score" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  35. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 63, No. 19, June 24, 1996". RPM. Retrieved March 17, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Fugees – The Score" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  37. ^ "Fugees: The Score" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  38. ^ "Lescharts.com – Fugees – The Score". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  39. ^ "Officialcharts.de – Top 100 Longplay". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  40. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Fugees – The Score". Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Fugees – The Score". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  42. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  43. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Fugees – The Score". Hung Medien.
  44. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Fugees – The Score". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  45. ^ "Fugees | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  46. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  47. ^ "Fugees Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  48. ^ "Fugees Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  49. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 13, 2018. 
  50. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1998). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  51. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Fugees – The Score" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Fugees in the field Interpret. Enter The Score in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  52. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Fugees – The Score". Music Canada. 
  53. ^ "French album certifications – Fugees – The Score" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  54. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Fugees; 'The Score')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  55. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Fugees – The Score" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. 
  56. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Fugees – The Score". Recorded Music NZ. 
  57. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Archived from the original on July 25, 2012. Retrieved December 20, 2017. 
  58. ^ "Polish album certifications – Fugees – The Score" (in Polish). Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. 
  59. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  60. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Fugees; 'The Score')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  61. ^ "British album certifications – Fugees – The Score". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter The Score in the search field and then press Enter.
  62. ^ "American album certifications – Fugees – The Score". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  63. ^ "IFPI Platinum Europe Awards – 1998". International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. 
  64. ^ "Fugees – Biography – Amoeba Music". Amoeba Music. Retrieved April 14, 2018. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]