Many couldn’t believe what they heard or saw when The Fugees announced their long-awaited reunion earlier this week. Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill and Pras are putting their complicated yet memorable history behind them and embarking on a world tour to celebrate the 25th-anniversary of their critically-acclaimed second studio album, The Score.
On Wednesday (Sept. 22), The Fugees threw a surprise pop-up concert at Pier 17 in New York City, giving fans an appetizer of what’s to come on the upcoming tour.
People from all generations made their way to Lower Manhattan and withstood a three-and-a-half-hour wait on a windy night to get a piece of the history-making moment. It’s been almost 16 years since The Fugees were last seen on stage together, but their performance left fans hungry for more.
A live band accompanied by a suit-and-tie-clad brass section and backup singers introduced the legendary trio with an electrifying rendition of “The Score” and “How Many Mics.” Fans cheered at the sight of Wyclef and Pras but erupted after seeing Ms. Lauryn Hill make her entrance in a red ruffle dress, black circular shades and a matching pair of platform boots.
The crew wasn’t going to waste any energy the raucous crowd was giving them as they trailblazed their way through “Ready or Not,” “Zealots” and “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” The crowd’s energy amplified when the thunderous Salaam Remi-produced hit “Fu-Gee-La” caused fans to shake the ground at Pier 17 with all the jumping.
Wyclef took some time out of their set to let off some steam through a freestyle regarding everything going on with his fellow Haitians in Del Rio, Texas. The Haitian migrant crisis has dominated news and social media this week for the inhumane treatment Haitians are receiving at the hands of U.S. Border Patrol, and Wyclef wasted no time addressing the troubling situation.
He took aim at President Joe Biden for ignoring the poor conditions in the Del Rio camp and criticized the way Haitian migrants are being treated, unlike Afghan refugees who were granted asylum. Wyclef also threatened the life of the U.S. Border Patrol officer who was captured on camera whipping the migrants before saying he may have been exaggerating, just in case CNN or MSNBC were to misconstrue his words.
Lauryn took over freestyle duties but opted to talk to the crowd about the controversial history of The Fugees. The group disbanded after the release of their second studio album and ventured off into solo careers. There were rumors of all sorts regarding the breakup, but Lauryn explained money and success got in the way of the group.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper-singer asked everyone in attendance to “respect the miracle” of herself, Wyclef and Pras being able to see eye to eye and perform like the old days. She also explained the hiatus she took following her groundbreaking debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill resulted from her wanting to catch up on all the years she devoted as a teenager to The Fugees and her solo career.
The show ended way before fans were ready to go home, but The Fugees promised the actual tour would be unique as they’re still “cooking” it up. While some were disappointed and other fans were satisfied, everyone wanted the group to perform one more song.
Unfortunately, they will have to wait a few more weeks to catch the Refugee All-Stars in action again when Diaspora Calling Presents The Fugees kicks off in Chicago, Illinois on Nov. 2. But for those who missed out, the performance will air during the massive Global Citizen Live event on Saturday (Sept. 25), which will feature dozens of acts performing on seven continents over 24 hours in an effort to urge world leaders and corporations to prioritize climate change action, combating famine and vaccine equity.