Fugees, the groundbreaking hip-hop trio comprised of Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Pras Michel, reunited on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021 at NYC’s Pier 17 Rooftop for their first live show as a group since 2006.
In addition to contributing to Global Citizen‘s 24-hour global streaming event on Saturday, the rooftop set marked the soft opening of the group’s forthcoming reunion tour celebrating 25 years of their groundbreaking 1996 album, The Score.
The long-awaited reunion show carried a palpable air of significance. Attendees’ phones were locked away in Yondr pouches, making what turned out to be an amusingly on-brand three-hour wait for showtime seem even longer (they hit the stage a few minutes after the venue’s typical curfew cutoff). But within the group’s brief performance shined a handful of moments of true brilliance, a positive sign for the global arena tour to come.
“We’re still cookin’,” Hill mused about the live production, which featured a twelve-piece horn section led by an onstage conductor in addition to three backing vocalists, two guitars, bass, drums, keys, and more.
Amid breaks for nostalgic reflection from Pras, politically-charged sermons from Wyclef, and what felt like a clean-slate dismissal of past tensions from Hill (“Respect the miracle of this union”), the trio delivered invigorated takes on a number of The Score tracks, from favorites “How Many Mics”, “Zealots”, “Fu-Gee-La”, and “Ready or Not” to customized covers “Killing Me Softly” (Roberta Flack) and “No Woman, No Cry” (Bob Marley).
Perhaps most surprisingly, this nostalgia-fueled homage of a show featured something new, the Wyclef-led “Cause and Effect”, which spilled out of a plea to President Joe Biden for improved treatment of Haitian refugees. The brand of bravado Jean exuded on the song made it feel right at home amid the tracks from The Score, yet another cause for hopeful optimism about the future of the Fugees—a future that existed only in our wishful dreams as recently as last week (“I don’t have to ball for respect / Every bar that I spit got a cause and effect / and I’m blessed like the DJ from Palestine / My DNA trace back to Fela Kuti’s shrine”).
Now that Global Citizen Live has finished streaming, several pro-shot videos from the Fugees reunion show in New York City have made their way onto YouTube. Watch Fugees perform “Zealots”, “Fu-Gee-La”, “Cause and Effect”, “Killing Me Softly”, and “Ready or Not” at the opening show of their 2021 Diaspora Calling reunion tour in the videos below.
Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Pras Michel will take the show on the road beginning on Tuesday, November 2nd in Chicago. For a full list of Fugees reunion dates and background on the group’s long-awaited reunion, head here. For ticketing details and more, head here.
Fugees – “Zealots” [Pro-Shot] – 9/22/21
Fugees – “Fu-Gee-La” [Pro-Shot] – 9/22/21
Fugees – “Cause and Effect” [Pro-Shot, Debut]
Fugees – “Killing Me Softly” [Pro-Shot] – 9/22/21
Fugees – “Ready or Not” [Pro-Shot] – 9/22/21
[Videos: Global Citizen]
Do not call me for Fugee tickets if you have a computer, phone, Netflix account, Hulu account, or a government stimulus.@BustaRhymes @Miguel @PrasMichel @MsLaurynHill @princewonda @oldmanebro @OriginalShyne @rojamesxix https://t.co/Uq1sIaImtY pic.twitter.com/D184yVDqkK
— Wyclef Jean (@wyclef) September 25, 2021