The Fugees – The Score (1996 7/10)

The Score was a very influential record, that helped shape the prominent sound of early 90s West/East coast gangsta rap into a more R&B friendly hip-hop.  However, with the musical diseases The Black Eyed Peas and Puff Daddy from the last few years I think this shift in music is proving to be of dubious artistic value.  In fact a listen to The Score underlines some of the developing problems with the hip-hop genre; with claims of independence and being kept down by the man burnt on an album released by Columbia Records and the calls to political activism are playing more to the tradition of the music than to a serious message – a Rage Against the Machine, if you will.  This problem is especially highlighted by the two cover songs; “Killing Me Softly With His Song” in Lauryn Hill’s hands becomes more moving and soulful than the original Flack version but “No Woman, No Cry” seems too removed from the social commentary of Marley’s original and the lyrical face-lift that The Fugees apply on it is one of the major mis-steps of the album.

Standout Tracks: Ready or Not, Killing Me Softly With His Song, and Cowboys