Ready or not: the Fugees are back.
Last night on the rooftop of Pier 17 at South Street Seaport in New York City, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel performed for the first time in 15 years in support of Global Citizen live. But before the tour kicks off, audiences can watch the global broadcast event, which calls on world leaders to defend the planet and defeat poverty, on September 25.
Promoted as a “intimate pop-up show,” their reunion is a long time coming. The trio’s storied past and break up left many of its global fans doubtful that Hill, Jean and Michel would ever share a stage again. However, all doubts were laid to rest as a 12-piece horn section, accompanying band and the Fugees themselves opened the show with the title song from their 1996 album The Score. September 22 was the first night of their highly anticipated 2021 reunion tour hitting 12 cities and four countries, including the U.K., Nigeria and Ghana.
The massive crowd of lucky attendees and VIPs, including Busta Rhymes, Miguel, Shaggy and Ebro, stood in excitement as the Fugees ran through their hits from The Score, which celebrates its 25th anniversary.
In 1996, three fresh faced teens from New Jersey released one of the most groundbreaking albums, which catapulted them obscurity to the global stage with big hits such as “Killing Me Softly,” “Fu-Gee-La” and “Ready or Not.”
“We have a complicated but beautiful history,” said Ms. Hill from the stage as she retold the story of being discovered at age 12 by Michel, who would introduced her to his cousin Jean. “At such a young age, we didn’t know what to expect.”
Although The Score was their sophomore effort, according to a statement, the seven-time platinum album has sold over 22 million copies worldwide and remains the best-selling album ever by a hip-hop group. As of 2021, the album is the fifth most-streamed rap album released in the 1990s on Spotify. “We helped move hip hop all around the globe,” said Ms. Hill.
As much as it was a celebration of their reunion, group member Wyclef Jean used the stage to speak out against the Haitian immigrants being detained at the Texas border. “President Biden if you’re listening, do me a favor, reverse the policy and write a new executive order giving the Haitians a pass like you did the Afghans,” he said while wearing a Haitian flag. Both he and Michel have Haitian roots.
The Fugees’ tour takes place in November and December, with its final stop in Ghana.