Somebody must have looked at their bank account and decided it was time to put the past behind them and hit the road as a band again. Because Ms. Lauryn Hill and The Fugees have just announced an international tour this fall, their first reunion on stage in 15 years, and one that no one, including the band members, likely thought was in the cards.
Hill's career has been defined mostly by two albums, both now over two decades old: The Fugees' The Score, and the Grammy-winning 1998 solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. In the years since that critical and popular sensation, Hill has sporadically toured, earned a reputation for keeping her fans waiting three hours, mistreating her backup band, and generally not giving terrific live performances.
The Fugees infamously disbanded after a tumultuous romantic relationship between a 20-year-old Hill and a married Wyclef Jean, whom she refused to even see in the studio for years after they stopped performing as a band around 1998, around the time she went solo. (As Questlove said in a 2003 Rolling Stone interview, "Her solo career wasn’t based on ‘I wanna do an album.’ It was based on not being Wyclef’s side girl."
But now, Hill acknowledges the 25th anniversary of The Score in a press release about the reunion tour, saying, "The Fugees have a complex but impactful history…. I decided to honor this significant project, its anniversary, and the fans who appreciated the music by creating a peaceful platform where we could unite, perform the music we loved, and set an example of reconciliation for the world."
The first stop will be a secret show at an undisclosed New York venue on Wednesday night, September 22.
On November 7, the band will be at Oakland Arena, and tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m., but there's a Spotify presale tomorrow at 10 a.m., and Live Nation has another one on Sept. 23 at 10 a.m.
Jean issued his own statement in the release, saying, "As I celebrate 25 years with the Fugees, my first memory was that we vowed, from the gate, we would not just do music we would be a movement. We would be a voice for the un-heard, and in these challenging times, I am grateful once again, that God has brought us together."
Pras Michel, who famously said in 2007 that there was "a better chance of seeing Osama Bin Laden and Bush in Starbucks having a latte, discussing foreign policies" than him working with Hill again, did not comment. Michel has been facing federal money laundering and conspiracy charges for two years stemming from several alleged schemes involving a Malaysian financier, and he has not commented on the tour.
After touring the US in November, the band heads to Paris, London, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Photo by B+