Band: The Fugees
Album: The Score
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: One of the classic hip hop records of the 1990s, "The Score" produced three big hits and brought the world Lauryn Hill. Smart and catchy, the album sold well while still showing intelligence.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: This record just doesn't resonate with me.
Best song: "Killing me Softly" is great.
Worst song: "The Mask" isn't great.
Is it awesome?: It belongs here, despite my disinterest.
"The Score" introduced us to Lauryn Hill and Wycleaf Jean, so, it's basically a wash. The record revolves around some sparse-ish beats (speaking to Jean's lack of talent as a producer in my mind), but has the formidable talents of Hill throughout the album.
"How Many Mics" is a fine record, while "Zealots" is a little thin. Of course, "Killing me Softly" is a classic, done by Roberta Flack or done by the Fugees.
There's merit in the album's staying above the gangsta fray of the time. Moreover, the socially conscious undercurrent of the record ("The Beast" is a stidently anti-government song) could have kept the album out of kids' CD collections, as Common and Nas' early records mostly did. It didn't, as RapReviews.com explains:
It's more like The Fugees did almost everything right here. Where Nas' Illmatic and Common Sense's Resurrection succeeded in producing top-notch material but ultimately failed to achieve any sort of crossover success, The Score did both.
It's pretty cool and pretty strange to see records on here that I lived through (as an adolescent or adult). On one hand, it's a little easier to put in context, while still reconnecting with the albums.
On the other hand, it's strange to hear a record I didn't like in the first place. "The Score" has an imprint in that it was one of the more popular backpack hip hop records of the time. Certainly, Lauryn Hill's talented and the record shows her off pretty well. But, her solo album is much better.
I can basically do without Wyclef, though I respect his political activism. The message on "The Score" is something to enjoy, but the album's hooks leave me a bit empty, just as they did when the album came out.