Lauryn Hill has been an icon of music for over 25 years. The Grammy-winning singer rose to prominence as a part of The Fugees with Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel. Though they only were together for a few years, The Fugees released several hit songs.
Lauryn Hill | Cristina Andina/Redferns
‘Killing Me Softly’ was the Fugees’ biggest hit song
The Fugees first came together in the early 1990s. Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel were friends in high school, while Pras’ cousin Wyclef Jean was soon brought into the group. They released their first album, Blunted on Reality, in 1994.
In 1996, the Fugees released their hit album The Score. The album became one of the biggest-selling hip-hop albums of all-time and included hit songs such as “Ready or Not,” “Fu-Gee-La,” and “Killing Me Softly.”
“Killing Me Softly” was a cover of the song made famous by Roberta Flack in 1973, “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The Fugees’ version sold over 3 million copies in the US and reached number one on the Top 40 chart.
The Fugees | Paul Natkin/Getty Images
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Lauryn Hill recorded ‘Killing Me Softly’ on a hot day
Pras reflected on recording the song back in the mid-’90s in a 2021 interview with Vulture.
“I remember Ms. Hill singing ‘Killing Me Softly’ in the basement, and it was so funny because it was one of the hottest summers, New York in 1995,” he recalled. “People were dying because it was so hot. We were really broke at that time. So we had the air conditioner in the basement. It blew cool air when it’s cold outside. When it’s hot out, it blows hot air. Psychologically, it still feels like it’s cooler. I just remember this hot ass air.”
“It was, like, 102 degrees outside, and Ms. Hill is doing the background vocals on ‘Killing Me Softly.’ It was just kind of the way she was hearing the harmonies,” he continued. “We were playing back Roberta Flack’s album. [Hill] was like, ‘Oh, she’s doing this key right here. Let me go back and do that.’ And she’d go back and do it. That’s how she stacked the harmonies. Yo, it was like poetry in motion.”
The Fugees | Tabatha Fireman/Redferns
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The Fugees are reuniting after 25 years
Now, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Score, the Fugees are reuniting for a special tour in the fall of 2021. They’re set to perform across the US, Europe, and west Africa.
“The Fugees have a complex but impactful history,” Hill said in a press release. “I wasn’t even aware the 25th anniversary had arrived until someone brought it to my attention. I decided to honor this significant project, its anniversary, and the fans who appreciated the music by creating a peaceful platform where we could unite, perform the music we loved, and set an example of reconciliation for the world.”
Wyclef Jean echoed a similar sentiment. “As I celebrate 25 years with the Fugees, my first memory was that we vowed, from the gate, we would not just do music we would be a movement,” he said. “We would be a voice for the unheard, and in these challenging times, I am grateful once again, that God has brought us together.”