At the Crossroads of Hip-Hop, Fugees Scored Big: The Opus Podcast

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As part of Consequence’s Hip-Hop 50 celebration, we’re opening The Opus archives to revisit our seasons about some of rap’s most iconic albums. We begin today with the record that sits at number 15 on our list of The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time: Fugees’ legendary final release, The Score.

In the mid-’90s, hip-hop was at a crossroads. With the genre’s “Golden Age” coming to a close, there was a clear need for an evolution. The same could be said for the Fugees, who had released their Blunted on Reality debut in 1994 to divisive critical reception and uninspiring sales. Like the rest of their hip-hop compatriots, the New Jersey trio of Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel were looking to reinvent themselves.

On the Season 13 premiere of The Opus: Fugees’ The Score, host Jill Hopkins dials back the clock to discover what it took for a group facing personal and artistic transitions to become the biggest hip-hop act of 1996 — and change the trajectory of rap forever. Hopkins is joined on this journey by producer Jerry Wonda, Ruffhouse Records co-founders Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo, and rapper Psalm One.

Listen to the episode above, and you can also revisit another classic album from Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in our retrospective feature “DMX, Lauryn Hill, and the Year Hip-Hop Changed Forever.” Then make sure to check out our exclusive Hip-Hop 50 merch over at the Consequence Shop, or using the buy-now buttons below.

Original music by Tony Piazza.