The Fugees Release The Score

The Score is the second and final studio album by the hip hop trio Fugees, released worldwide February 13, 1996 on Columbia Records.

The album features a wide range of samples and instrumentation, with many aspects of alternative hip hop that would come to dominate the hip hop music scene in the mid-late 1990s. The Score's production was handled mostly by the Fugees themselves and Jerry Duplessis, with additional production from Salaam Remi, John Forté, Shawn King, and Diamond D. The album's guest raps are from Outsidaz' members Rah Digga, Young Zee and Pacewon, as well as Omega, John Forté, and Diamond D. Most CD and import versions of the album feature four bonus tracks, including three remixes of "Fu-Gee-La", and a short acoustic Wyclef Jean solo track entitled "Mista Mista."

Upon its release, The Score was a commercial success, peaking at the number one spot on both the Billboard 200, and the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. The singles "Killing Me Softly," "Fu-Gee-La," and "Ready or Not" also achieved notable chart success, and helped the group achieve worldwide recognition. On October 3, 1997, The Score was certified 6X's platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In addition to receiving mostly favorable reviews upon its release, the album has garnished a considerable amount of acclaim over the years, with many music critics and publications noting it as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, and also one of the greatest albums of the 1990s. In 1998, the album was included in The Source's 100 best rap albums list, and in 2003, it was ranked number 477 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Although the Fugees' previous album Blunted on reality proved to be critically and commercially unsuccessful, Christ Schwartz, head of Ruffhouse Records, decided to give the group another chance. In early 1995, he gave them a $135,000 advance and granted them complete artistic control for a follow-up album. The group used the money for recording equipment and set up a studio in Wyclef's uncle's basement, which they referred to as Booga Basement. Recording for the album began in June of 1995, and exceeded into November of 1995 at what Wyclef described as a "relaxed pace" by stating "It was done calmly, almost unconsciously. There wasn't any pressure - it was like "let's make some music," and it just started forming into something amazing. It sounded like a feel-good hip hop record to us, and it was different than what anyone was doing at the time. It was three kids from an urban background expressing themselves." In regards to The Score's unified themes and production, Lauryn commented "It's an audio film. It's like how radio was back in the 1940s. It tells a story, and there are cuts and breaks in the music. It's almost like a hip hop version of Tommy, like what The Who did for rock music."