MTV News: The Greatest Hip-Hop Groups Of All Time
728x90 DART richIframeInline(S). pagename: bands

 Bands Main
 Bands A-Z: UGK
 News Archive: UGK

 10. UGK

 9. Fugees

 8. Salt 'N Pepa

 7. EPMD

 6. A Tribe Called Quest

 5. Wu-Tang Clan

 4. Outkast

 3. Public Enemy

 2. N.W.A

 1. Run-DMC

  Back to Intro

  Honorable Mention

  The Brain Trust speaks

No group can be compared to the Wu-Tang Clan. RZA's production is incredible. I can't see how they wouldn't be #1.
                 — Eric, 24
                   Buffalo, NY

Got a problem with our choices? Share your own top 10.

  The Greatest Hip-Hop MCs Of All Time

  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time

Browse Bands by Name

Or enter a band name below to search:

back next  
Rank: 9

The Fugees automatically separated themselves from most hip-hop groups with a rare dynamic: two guys and one Wonder Woman. The chemistry between Wyclef, Pras and Lauryn is legendary, for better or worse (they had one of hip-hop's most controversial breakups). Onstage, they broke out live musicians as well as DJs, and the familiar versions of songs on their albums were just the tip of the iceberg: You were bound to get a lot of improvisation, off-the-head freestyling, and Wyclef might even do a backflip or two.

In the end, there was too much personality and talent for one group. In her prime, Lauryn Hill used the mic as a giant eraser, disintegrating any gender line — just about every verse she spit was laced with brilliance and conveyed with a voice that exuded authority and demanded respect. As a singer, she was melodically entrancing and soul-stirring. And of course, in 1998 her Miseducation of Lauryn Hill became one of the best-selling and most popular albums of the decade. Likewise, Wyclef Jean has had a strong solo career and has become a highly successful producer, giving Destiny's Child their first big hit with "No, No, No," serving Shakira a worldwide smash with "Hips Don't Lie" and working with countless others in between. And while Pras was often referred to as "the third member" of the Fugees, he had a strong influence on the group's direction and he even had a big hit on his own (accompanied by Ol' Dirty Bastard and Mya) with "Ghetto Supastar."

Co-Signer: Havoc, Mobb Deep
"The thing about Lauryn is, you didn't know if she rapped better or sang better. I can't pick one. When she spit, her flow, technique and lyrics — you can't match it. It takes years to get a flow like that. You hear her delivery in somebody like Mos Def; his technique is ill. Back then, she was shutting down a lot of cats with her lyrical skill, and then she could sing on top of it. That's like some [very muscular] dude with a gun. He likes to fight and he can also shoot you, so you got to be scared of both! I remember living in North Carolina for like three months at the time they were hot, and we didn't play our own stuff — all we would play is the Fugees, just bumping it and bumping it. Their sound was gritty, but they were universal.

"They were definitely a group that didn't care what everyone else was doing. They just were them, and you could tell they weren't trying to be different; they were different. They had a little bit of that Tribe Called Quest chill, but it was [mostly] them. I have a feeling they didn't compromise their sound. People search for hits, worry about spins and video play, but the Fugees were true artists."

100 Percent Proof
"Back in the day, I used to listen to Kool G Rap/ Way back when, before guns became gats/ And Run-DMC used to ask Mary why she buggin?/ I loved P.E., they kept me conscious of what I was saying/ Afrika Bambaataa, Poor Righteous Teachers/ Got within myself, so it made me a Five Percenter/ Say 'La-Di-Da-Di, uh, we like to party'/ But my jam was BDP, with 'My Philosophy.' " (Wyclef Jean, "Vocab")

"The subconscious psychology that you use against me/ If I lose control will send me to the penitentiary/ Such as Alcatraz, or shot up like El Hajj Malik El Shabazz/ High class, get bypassed while my ass gets harassed/ And the fuzz treat bruh's like they manhood never was/ And if you too powerful, you get bugged like Peter Tosh and Marley was/ And my word does nothing against the feds/ So my eyes stay red as I chase crazy bald heads, word up." (Lauryn Hill, "The Beast")

Selected Catalog
Blunted on Reality (1994), *The Score (1996).

* = undeniable classic

NEXT: Luke of 2 Live Crew says of this group, 'What they did paved the way, and [others] took it to the next level.' ...
back next
Photo: Ernest Paniccioli

160x600 DART richInline(S). pagename: bands