During the 1990s, The Fugees became one of the most critically acclaimed rap groups of the decade. They are also arguably one of the greatest groups of all time. In the grand scheme of things, their run was very short and they only released two albums. However, both projects are widely considered to be masterpieces. The Fugees impact on hip hop and other styles of music is something that has withstood the test of time. A lot of things have changed in the 25 years since the release of their last album, but one thing that has stayed the same is people’s love for The Fugees and their music. Continue reading to see our list of the 10 best songs by The Fugees.
10. The Mask
“The Mask” is one of those songs by The Fugees that many people have never heard. It wasn’t released as a single and didn’t get much attention as a result. However, this is easily one of their best songs. Almost immediately after the track star, Wyclef poses the question “have you ever worn a mask” and from then on, you know the song will be fire. Essentially, the song is about the masks we all wear as we move through the world. Ironically, this one has a whole new meaning given the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the things that made The Fugees so special was their versatility and “Zealots” is one of the many songs where they display that. All three members of the group are putting on a great performance on this song and it’s full of the top-notch lyricism the group is known for.
8. No Woman, No Cry
Inspired by Bob Marley’s 1974 song of the same name, The Fugees’ version of “No Woman, No Cry” was a bit more uptempo than the original and had some updated lyrics. However, the overall essence of the song remained the same. This is one of the group’s many songs that will truly never get old.
As soon as “Recharge” stars, the group’s youthful energy is apparent. Although this song sounds a little different than some of their more popular music, it’s another great example of how their creativity knows no bounds. The song blurs the lines between genres, to create something that is unique and captivating. Once you hear “Recharge”, you’ll completely understand how it earned a spot on our list.
When people discuss the best female rappers, Lauryn Hill is sometimes left off of people’s lists. However, “Vocab” is proof that she deserves to be there. On the song, Lauryn raps, “Hey yo I, feel kind of melancholy people think they really know me/I keep a rap-book with me while I’m driving daddy’s Audi/I pay the toll fighting for my own soul/Cause the bourgeoise type of mental sucks like a black hole/But I be baitin the rebel base to bass distort the EQ/The devil’s wishin they could send me back to Mogadishu/Cause I’ve been wild since I was a juvenile”.
5. Nappy Heads
Lots of people in the music industry struggle with making songs that have mass appeal and have substance. One of the things that always made The Fugees so special is the fact that they could do both. They never sacrificed their art for the sake of going commercial. “Nappy Heads” was the highest-charting single from the group’s debut album and it’s easy to see why. The song is catchy without being corny and it also does a great job of putting The Fugees’ talents on display.
4. How Many Mics
No rappers’ catalog is complete without a song that brags about their skills. For The Fugees, “How Many Mics” is that song. In the chorus, Wyclef asks “how many mics do we rip on the daily?” and, of course, the answer is many. The song features a verse from all three Fugees and each one of them ripped it.
3. Killing Me Softly
“Killing Me Softly” is probably The Fugees’ most popular song so many people are probably surprised that it didn’t get the number one spot. We decided it to put it at number three because even though it’s a great song, it’s basically a cover of Roberta Flack’s song of the same name. That said, the group definitely put their own spin on it which is why their version is so popular.
Even though The Fugees don’t have a massive discography, they are widely known for being consistent. To be honest, it’s probably safe to say that they never miss. “Fu-Gee-La” is another one of the group’s popular songs and it has the kind of chorus that will be stuck in your head for days after listening to the song just once.
1. Ready or Not
There’s no such thing as a perfect song, but “Ready or Not” is pretty close. For many, the song represents an era of hip hop where lyricism was at the forefront. The Fugees are definitely at their best on this song and it’s become a timeless classic. Barack Obama even included “Read or Not” on his list of favorite songs.