The Score is the second and final album by the American hip hop group The Fugees. It was released in 1996 as the Surprisingly Improved Sequel to their poorly received debut album Blunted on Reality, which was even dismissed by themselves because of Executive Meddling.
The Score produced hits such as "Ready or Not", "Killing Me Softly" and "Fu-Gee-La" . The record also jump-started Alternative Hiphop into the mainstream. It is seen as one of the best hip hop albums ever created and was listed at #469 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
- "Red Intro" (feat. DJ Red Alert, Ras Baraka) - 1:51
- "How Many Mics" - 4:28
- "Ready or Not" - 3:46
- "Zealots" - 4:20
- "The Beast" - 5:37
- "Fu-Gee-La" - 4:20
- "Family Business" (feat. Omega, John Forté) - 5:43
- "Killing Me Softly" - 4:58
- "The Score" (feat. Diamond D) - 5:01
- "The Mask" - 4:50
- "Cowboys" (feat. Pacewon, Rah Digga, Young Zee, John Forté) - 5:23
- "No Woman, No Cry" - 4:32
- "Manifest/Outro" - 5:59
It's time to settle the score...
- Album Intro Track:Columbia Rough House Records Presents: A Refugee Camp Production, Fugees, The Score. And now for our feature presentation...
- Album Title Drop: Throughout the intro.
- Album Filler: The album has some filler moments after each song, most of it in the form of comedic sketches.
- "Fu-Gee-La" has a few unnecessary throwaway remixes near the end of the album. These were not included on cassette and vinyl formats.
- Answer Cut:Ay Yo should I slow down?No, kid, go faster!
- As the Good Book Says...: Quite some lyrics refer to it, most notably "Manifest", where Wyclef Jean imagines himself waking up in the presence of Jesus Christ and Haile Selassie. The same song makes references to the Last Supper, Judas' betrayal of Jesus and Gethsemane.
- Beneath the Mask: "The Mask".Yeah, everybody wear the mask, but how long will it last?
- Bilingual Bonus: One of the remixes of "Fu-Gee-La"has lines sang in Gratuitous French.
- "Au contraire mon frère" in "How Many Mics" .
- "With my crew from lakay" in "Ready Or Not" references the Haitian creole word "Lakay" for "home" .
- Boyfriend Bluff: A small skit before "The Mask" has a guy claiming he fucked a certain woman named Michelle. He specifies it was indeed "Michelle Leslie Brown from 253 street that played ball in the park." The others are amazed, but when Michelle is brought along to confirm this Badass Boast it turns out that she has no idea what he's talking about and is even rather disgusted by the whole idea. The guy tries to bullshit himself out of the situation by saying he actually went to bed with "another Michelle Leslie Brown from 253 street that played ball in the park." "Man, she got a cousin or some shit..."
- Buxom Is Better: "The Score"Competition, stimulation for the rap manLosers check your tootersWhile I'm sucking on your girl's hooters
- But Not Too Black: "How Many Mics."Before black I'm first human
- "Red Intro" already anticipates many of the topics and lyrical phrases that will be addressed later on the album.
- "The Score" is a track where quotes from previous songs on the album are sampled and songs that are still to come make their first appearance.
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Subverted in "The Beast"Cool cliques throw bricks but seldom hit targets
- Corpsing: Lauryn Hill's lovely laugh is heard a few times between skits.
- Cover Version: "Killing Me Softly" (a Roberta Flack cover) and "No Woman, No Cry" (a Bob Marley cover).
- Crapsack World: All of the lyrics address the poor state the world is in.
- Diner Brawl: In a skit before "Fu-Gee-La" a Chinese restaurant owner starts a fight with two men whom he suspects to be "bitch-ass niggers".
- Drugs Are Bad: A bit ambiguous. References to marihuana and being high can be found all throughout the album (even subliminally in "No Woman, No Cry" where the refrain "Oo aah" suddenly becomes "Oo aah/ I'm high" ), but the track "Mista Mista" criticizes a poor beggar for asking for money, because he will use it to buy drugs anyway.
- Evil Laugh: Lauren in "Fu-Gee-La".
- Excrement Statement: "Ready Or Not"While you are imitating Al CaponeI'll be Nina Simone and defecating on your microphone!
- Face on the Cover and Face Framed in Shadow: The band on the album cover, shown against a black background.
- Fading into the Next Song: "Red Intro" —> "How Many Mics" —> "Ready or Not"
- Fugitive Arc: All throughout the album.
- Grief Song: "Killing Me Softly", "No Woman, No Cry".
- The Gunslinger: Comparing gang members with gun-toting cowboys is a theme throughout the entire album, most notably "Cowboys".Rappers want to be actorsSo they play the Jesse James CharacterAnd get they bones fractured.You ain't got no guns, you off to the precinctInside tough guys are feminine like Sheena Easton
- Hurricane of Puns:
But it all stays the same like the love Doctor Strange(...)I used to be underratedNow I take iron/ makes my shit constipated(...) Double do's been like I don't dig Van Dyke
- "How Many Mics"
- "The Beast"
I'm twisted/ black-listed like some other negroes" (...) fast like Ramadan
I used to work at Burger King, a king taking orders
- "The Mask"
The Buffalo Soldier, dreadlock rasta! note
- There are quite some references to Jamaica, Rastafarianism, marihuana and Reggae on this album. Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" is covered, but this is far from the only Marley reference:
- "Ready Or Not"
Iron like a lion from Zion note(...) Now who would think that you're best friend would be your best enemy and your enemy your best friend? note
- "Family Business"
(...) The streets of corruption got me bustin' and cussin' in the concrete jungle note(...) As I chase crazy warheads note
- "The Beast"
(...) Fuck the sheriff, I shot John Wayne note
- Another line from "The Beast"
Rough-neck rednecks make me no bother
- "Family Business" has the line: "and then I catch my ticket to Jamaica" .
- "The Score" mentions "rough-necks"
Essential like the chalice weed be(...)We go, way back like some ganja and pelequo
- In "Manifest" the protagonist was "feeling kind of high, it was me, Jesus Christ and Haile Selassie" .
- Ganja (marihuana) is referenced in "Ready Or Not" (as "sess") and in "How Many Mics".
On a mountain Satan offered me Manhattan/ help me Jah Jah.
- "Zealots" 's line "Another MC loses his life tonight" is a melodical reference to Willie Williams' reggae track "Armageddon Time" .
- "The Beast":
- "Fu-Gee-La" references Mount Zion, Babylon and "Champion" by Buju Banton.
- The reggae duo Sly & Robbie made one of the remixes of "Fu-Gee-La" .
- Large Ham: Wyclef Jean in "Mista, Mista" is Chewing the Scenery beyond the ridiculous.
- Let's Get Out of Here: The skit before "The Beast" has the band members running away.
- Loudness War: The skit before "Killing You Softly" has the sound boy testing the sound, but it's too loud, causing Lauryn to sing: "Killing a sound boy with this sound" .
- Mistaken for Gay: The Chinese restaurant owner in the sketch before "Fu-Gee-La" assumes his two clients are "bitchass niggers".
- One-Word Title: "Zealots", "Cowboys".
- Police Brutality: Addressed in "The Beast" .Say can't you see cops more crooked than weBy the dawn's early night robbin' niggas for kis.Easy low key crooked militaryPay taxes out my ass but they still harrass me.
- Precision F-Strike: All throughout the album.And even after all my logic and my theory
I add a "motherfucker" so you ignorant niggas hear me
- Properly Paranoid:
So at night the fiend's dance on Grease with John TravoltaOne got slaughtered as he coughed blood from his mouthThe other tried to duck and caught a left with my Guinness StoutBrother brother can't you get this through your headIt's a set up by the fed's they're scoping us with their Infra-reds.
- "How Many Mics:"
- Questioning Title?: "How Many Mics?"
- Sampling: A lot of the tracks have samples in them.
- "How Many Mics" samples "Twilight Time" by The Moody Blues and "Sunglasses At Night" by Corey Hart.
- "Zealots" samples "I Only Have Eyes For You" by the doowop group The Flamingos.
- "Ready Or Not" contains a sample from "Boadicea" by Enya. Since she didn't give them permission she was planning to sue them, but dropped the lawsuit after being reassured that they weren't a Gangsta Rap group.
- "Fu-Gee-La" samples "Ooo La La La" by Teena Marie and "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right" by Ramsey Lewis.
- "The Mask" samples "Nights In White Satin" by The Moody Blues.
- "Cowboys" samples "Something 'bout Love" by The Main Ingredient and "Cowboys To Girls" by The Intruders.
- "Manifest" samples "Ain't No Half-Steppin'" by Big Daddy Kane and "Rock Dis Funky Joint" by Poor Righteous Teachers.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: The fight in the skit before "Fu-Gee-La" has rather unconvincing first fights, clearly just vocally imitated by the Chinese restaurant owner.
- "Red Intro":
It all stays the same like the love Doctor StrangeI am tame like the rapper (...) Your attempts are futile, oooh child note(...) Indeed be like Khalil Muhammad (...) We go, way back like some ganja and pelequo or Coleco-Vision (...)And I'll back this with Deuteronomy or Leviticus, God made this word .
- "How Many Mics": Lauryn sings:
Appetite to write like Frederick Douglass with a slave hand(...) One day I'll have a label and make deals with Tommy Motolla(...) Now I got a record deal, "How does it feel? noteI'm never gonna survive unless I get crazy like Seal
- "How Many Mics": Clef sings:
Dice and dynamite like DolemiteDouble deuce delight I don't dig Van DykeLike my man Wyclef (I wear my sunglasses at nightDrivin' in my fast car playin' Tracy Chapman
- "How Many Mics": Pras sings:
Me and my guitar go back like the days of the RMC'sC'mon check out my melody(...) Time after time, ask Cyndi Lauper(...) I'm more magnificent than Lee Van Cleef
- "Ready Or Not" references the hide-and-seek game, Sleepwalkers (in which the Enya song sampled in this Fugees song was used earlier), "If I Could Rule The World" (a song by Nas and Lauryn Hill), Goretex, the Manifest Destiny, "She's Homeless" by Crystal Waters, Porgy and Bess, Elliot Ness, Al Capone, Nina Simone (who also recorded a cover of "I Loves You Porgy" from Porgy and Bess ), Bob Marley's "Buffalo Soldier" , Superfly, True Lies, Guantanamo Bay and Cassius Clay.
- "Zealots" references Willie Williams' "Armageddon Time" , Jesus Christ, Mephistopheles, the sword of Damocles, John F. Kennedy, "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell, "Sweet Dreams" by The Eurythmics, "Black Magic Woman" from Abraxas by Carlos Santana, Last Tango in Paris, Menudo, "Word Up" by Cameo, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, rap DBX, Ampex 456, Little Shop of Horrors, The Phantom of the Opera, Benito Mussolini.
- "The Beast" references Newt Gingrich, the Star Wars defense system, Chewbacca, Trisha Meili (in the line "Yesterday In The Central Park they got the jogger", about a woman who was assaulted and raped in Central Park. Five Afro-American men were convicted, but later turned out to be innocent), ghetto Gotham, Bill Clinton, "Fire Water Burn" by The Bloodhound Gang, journalist Connie Chung, Satan, Jah, Mother Mary, Rodney King, Fort Alcatraz, al Hajj Malik Shabazz, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, The Star Spangled Banner, "Concrete Jungle" by Bob Marley, basketball player Mutumbo, Hannibal, Dr. Kimble
- The restaurant owner in the skit before "Fu-Gee-La" starts is humming "You're Not Alone" by Michael Jackson.
- "Fu-Gee-La" references Charmin' (a product endorsed by advertising character Mr. Whipple who got mad when people squeezed it), Chicken George, dead pigeons (a reference to maffia murders, where they leave corpses of these dead birds on the scene), Blacula, Stevie Wonder, Armageddon, Babylon, Mount Zion, Gucci, Lucci, Mitsubishi, "Say Say Say" by Paul Mccartney, Cooley High, Superfly, "Champion" by Buju Banton, Louis Farrakhan and What's Going On.
- "Family Business" references Nostradamus, "Iron, Lion Zion" and "Who The Cap Fit?" by Bob Marley, Jezebel, Alex Haley, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor, judge Lance Ito and "Murder She Wrote" by Chaka Demus and Pliers.
- "The Score" references "My Melody" from Paid In Full by Eric B & Rakim, "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper and Lee Van Cleef
Well did you shoot him? Naw kid, I didn't have the ballsThat's when I realized I'm pumpin' too much Biggie Smalls
- "The Mask" references Biggie Smalls.
Compared myself to Toni Braxton, though I'd never catch my breath(...)I can Capleton when I'm on a tour
- "Cowboys" references Plug 2 (aka the nickname of Trugoy the Dove of De La Soul), How the West Was Won , Jesse James, Sheena Easton, The Fall Guy, The Mask with Jim Carrey, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Harlem Nights, Blazing Saddles, "Ice Cream" by Raekwon, the NAACP, "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers, "Soul Makossa" by Manu Dibango (or "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" by Michael Jackson), "I Shot The Sherrif" by Bob Marley]], John Wayne, Shane, Zsa Zsa Gabor and "Danger" by Blahzay-blah (which has the line "when the east is in the house" )
- "Manifest" references "Breathe Again" by Toni Braxton and reggae artist Capleton.
- The typography on the album cover references The Godfather .
- Sleep-Mode Size:
Wyclef is in a state of sleepThinking about the robbery that I did last week .
- "Ready Or Not":
But if I fall asleep and Death takes me awayDon't be surprised, son/ I wasn't put here to stay.
- "Family Business" also evokes being awake and asleep at the same time in a nightmare:
- Spelling Song: "The Mask"M to the A to the S to the K
- Spoken Word in Music: The interludes between songs are sketches and skits.
- Stock Sound Effects: Intentional scratchy LP record sounds can be heard between tracks.
- Take That!:
''Conflicts with night sticks / Illegal sales districts / Hand-picked lunatics keep politrickcians rich / Heretics push narcotics amidst its risks and frisks / Cool cliques throw bricks but seldom hit targets / Private-DIC sell hits, like porno-flicks do chicks / The 666 cut W.I.C. like UsefulNotes/NEWTGINGRICH SUCKS DICK!''
- "How Many Mics", a take that towards bad hiphop artists who "sold your soul from some secular muzak that's wack" .
- "The Beast":
- A Touch of Class, Ethnicity and Religion: "The Beast":High class gets bypassed while my ass gets harrassed
- Wham Line:
And even after all my logic and my theoryI add a "motherfucker" so you ignorant niggas hear me.
I used to work at Burger King, a king taking orders.
- "The Mask":
- World War III: "The Mask"I got kidnapped they took me to D.C.Have me working underground building missiles for World War III .