Hip-Hop 50: The Score - Fugees In the Lab

26m | Aug 11, 2023

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, we’re opening up The Opus podcast archives to re-release seasons focused on some of history's most legendary rap albums. First up, we revisit Fugees’ classic The Score, which comes in at number 15 on Consequence’s list of the 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Albums of All Time. You can see the full list on Consequence, and there will be loads of artist interviews, essays, and more coming throughout the month, so make sure to check it all out at

You can also snag some of our exclusive Hip-Hop 50 merch at the Consequence Shop.

Here on The Opus, we’ll also be re-releasing our season about Cypress Hill’s self-titled record, so make sure to check back every Wednesday and Friday for fresh episodes from the archives.

So much of hip-hop is built on the notion of creating something from something. Call it covering, call it borrowing, call it sampling, but don't call it unoriginal. For decades, samples have helped musicians turn some of greatest hits into even greater hits.

Fugees are no exception to this. They built upon this legacy, The samples and covers included on 1996's The Score range everywhere from The Delphonics to Enya -- and yet they’re seamlessly woven together to create a distinct, singular album.

In the Season 13 finale, host Jill Hopkins heads to the operating room to dissect three songs off The Score that best embody the art of the sample and the depth of knowledge the Fugees brought to the studio: "Zealots", "The Score", and "Ready or Not".

Surrounding Jill at the table with scalpels and insight are Ruffhouse Records co-founders Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo; rapper Psalm One; and music journalist Insanul Ahmed. Together, they discuss why certain bits were used, why whole songs were sometimes included, and how the Fugees turned existing classics into their own -- read: completely new -- classics.

Original music by Tony Piazza.

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