Fugees Sampled Old Songs for New Classics: The Opus Pod

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On the “official” 50th anniversary of hip-hop, we wrap up our special re-release of The Opus’ deep dive into one of the genre’s greatest-ever records, Fugees’ The Score, by taking a close look at three of the LP’s songs.

Covering, borrowing, interpolating, sampling — hip-hop has a foundation built on creating something from something. But just because musicians have turned samples of greatest hits into greater hits for decades, doesn’t mean it’s unoriginal. Fugees, for example, sampled and covered everyone from The Delphonics to Enya on The Score, seamlessly weaving together these disparate touch points to create their own singular opus.

For the finale of The Opus: Fugees’ The Score, host Jill Hopkins takes a look at how all this “borrowing” led to three of the album’s classic songs: “Ready or Not,” “Zealots,” and the title track itself. Helping her with this dissection are Ruffhouse Records co-founders Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo, rapper Psalm One, and music journalist Insanul Ahmed. They cut up all the bits of the tracks to reveal why there were used, why entire songs were included, and how Fugees turned these existing classics into completely fresh masterpieces.

Listen now, and revisit Hill’s other classic LP, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, in our retrospective feature “DMX, Lauryn Hill, and the Year Hip-Hop Changed Forever.” Stay tuned for our next The Opus archives release, as we look at Cypress Hill’s self-titled smash. You can also check out our exclusive Hip-Hop 50 and The Opus merch over at the Consequence Shop, or grab yours using the buy-now buttons below.

Original music by Tony Piazza.