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

21m | Aug 4, 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.

Instead of returning to the studio with outside producers, the Fugees took their $150k advance from Ruffhouse Records and ventured off to … the basement. Specifically, the Booga Basement in East Orange, NJ, where Wyclef Jean’s uncle and his cousin Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis lived.

Booga, along with The Dungeon in Atlanta (where OutKast cut their debut), were two of the most successful underground studios in the game circa the mid-90s. These locales came with a productive, family vibe and endless head bobs to judge the quality of work.

In this episode, host Jill Hopkins speaks to producer Jerry Wonda about building a studio and a sound that would continue the tradition of great New Jersey hip-hop. They also discuss why this kind of DIY ethos is so important to groups in the process of defining their sounds.

Also heading into the basement are special guests Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo of Ruffhouse Records, in addition to MTV’s Dometi Pongo and Genius executive editor Insanul Ahmed.

Original music by Tony Piazza.

Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win a Fugees prize pack, which includes vinyl, a turntable, and headphones. (Note: If you’re having trouble seeing the widget, enter here.)

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