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Where Fugees At?

Hip-Hop heads are notorious for not giving a shit about anything that happened six months ago, let alone six years ago. Rap stations have even begun playing shit that came out when I was in college (i.e. this decade) and calling it old school. But in a year in which there probably won’t be any really great rap albums[1], it can be interesting to look back at some of the great albums that came out 10 and 20 years ago.

About a week ago, I wrote a post here noting the upcoming 20th (yikes!) anniversary of the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill, one of hip-hop’s lost classics. And not too long ago, Jay-Z held a special concert at New York’s fabled Radio City Music Hall to mark the 10th anniversary of his own dubious hip-hop classic, Reasonable Doubt. Continuing in a similar vein, tomorrow will mark the release of Major Lodge Victory, the first Gin Blossoms album since 1996’s Congratulations, I’m Sorry, which is neither classic nor hip-hop.

Between all this, and the requisite abundance of low quality Internets pr0n (in lieu of an actual low quality woman), it’s like 1996 all over again at the Bol residence. Only thing is, no return to that year would be complete without the Fugees, easily the most popular hip-hop act at the time and makers of one of the all-time great rap albums. After reuniting in 2004, 2006 would have been a great year for them to release a comeback album, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I wonder why that is.

I imagine at least part of the problem is that Wyclef Jean can’t be bothered to deal with those other two bums. In case you haven’t heard, that bullshit he did with Shakira[1] is probably the year’s most popular song. Which is doubly frustrating when you consider that it looked for a while like her career here in the first world was over, as it should be. But even in the years when ‘Clef didn’t have a hit, he could command fairly exorbitant fees to perform god-awful covers of Pink Floyd and Bob Marley records in front of stadiums of stoned cracka-ass crackas.

Them getting back together back in ’04 always struck me as Lauryn Hill hitting rock bottom more so than anything else. “Ghetto Superstar” aside, Pras never had much of a solo career to speak of, but he always struck me as the kind of dude who would save most of his Score money. L-Boogie on the other hand? Not so much. It’s no secret that Columbia Records, or whatever it’s called now, has been giving her the Damon Dash treatment going back to the days of Unplugged 2.0. But you get the idea that whatever money she made from her two good albums is about gone.

Furthermore, I’m sure a new Fugees would sell at least a few copies to us fogeys who remember them from high school a la Two Against Nature or some shit. But I wonder if a Fugees album today, even if it didn’t suck balls, could sell nearly as many copies the Score. It could be the case that the idea of a hip-hop group like the Fugees has been rendered obsolete by the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and Linkin Park, both of which are whiter and less prone to say any bugged out shit during an interview. I bet doesn’t even bang Fergie.

[1] I think there have been a few pretty good ones though.

[2] His verse on that song could very well be the wackest verse ever spit by an actual MC on a label. Even Yung Joc is reported to have heard it and been like, “What the fuck?”

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