The legacy continues with one of the most celebrated alternative hip hop groups of the 90s: The Fugees. Straight out of South Orange, NJ, members Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel initially formed the Transzlator Crew as friends at Columbia High School in Maplewood before Michel’s cousin Wyclef Jean joined. They intentionally renamed themselves Fugees, short for refugee, yet derogatorily referenced as Haitian Americans. Their progressive musical style got noticed by record executives as the Fugees embarked on a path amplify their voices through their debut album, “Blunt- ed on Reality,” under the guidance of Robert Bell of Kool and the Gang fame. Although the album received critical acclaim, it was their second and final album, “Score” that reached commercial success and two Grammys, largely due to hit singles, “Killing Me Softly” and “Ready or Not.” A year after “Score” was released, the group disbanded with each performer pursuing solo ventures – yet in recent years have reunited on several occasions.

Lauryn Hill

The legacy continues with Lauryn Hill, who after a stint in movies (“Sister Act 2”) and tenure with the Fugees, she shifted her attention to producing and writing for such distinguished musical artists as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, and Mary J. Blige. But it was her Neo-soul epic, “The Miseducation of Lauren Hill,” that further transformed Hill’s persona as a deeply spiritual and artistic phenomenon. The album sold over 19 million copies and featured one of the biggest singles, “Doo Wop (That Thing)” plus it garnered Hill five Grammy Awards (including Album of the Year), which was unprecedented in one night.

Wyclef Jean

The legacy continues with Wyclef Jean, who released his first solo studio album, “Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival” which included the top ten hit, “Gone Till November.” His career continued to climb as a producer of such artists as Carlos Santana, and as a soloist. Additionally, Jean was a contributing hit maker for Shakira with “Hips Don’t Lie” and Destiny Child’s “No, No, No.” His musical impact earned Jean 3 Grammy Awards and an induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Aside from music, Jean published his memoir, “Purpose: An Im- migrant’s Story” and appeared in television and film in addition to his social activism.

Pras Michael

The legacy continues with Pras Michel, whose solo career as a rapper resulted in the collaboration with Mya and Ol’ Dirty Bastard on the hit, ‘Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are”) which became a top 10 single and reached international accolades. It was even included in the soundtrack for the film, “Bulworth.” While Michel flourished by earning several Top 40 hits, his attention turned to pursuing acting in TV and film projects. Among his features include “Mystery Men,” “Turn It Up,” “Higher Ed,” and “The Mutant Chronicles.” Michel also produced impactful documentaries including his 9-day homeless experience in downtown Los Angeles which was captured with a hidden camera.

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