Although rumors of a fugitive reunion tour were actually circulating for days before it was announced on Tuesday, the news made a splash: a multi-date international tour to mark the 25th anniversary of the group’s 1996 album “The Score” will begin in a few weeks. See the date here), and will be officially launched the following night at a pop-up show in New York at a location to be announced.
And indeed, the group – Lauren Hill, Wyclef Jean and Prasad Mitchell – and a large backing band in partnership with Global Citizen Live performed on the rooftop at Pier 17 in New York, although 3,500+ participants had only a few songs to listen to since the show’s scheduled start. Wait three hours.
It can’t ignore the impact of the performance: “The Score” was a defining cultural moment, a daring album that shifted the hip-hop perspective from the street to something mainstream but advanced, sophisticated and global, with a special reach of members Caribbean themes. The album has sold an estimated seven million copies worldwide – at the peak of the lucrative CD era – but the group soon split sharply, with members embarking on a solo career, most notably Hill’s more successful debut in 1998, “The Misducation of Lorraine Hill.”
On the roof of Pier 17, there was nothing to consider a solo album or personal feud: only the trio and their large group (13 horns, three background singers and a propulsive core band saying nothing) were preparing for the tour, “Calling the Diaspora,” Which began on November 2 in Chicago and ended on December 18 in Ghana.
“We’re still cooking it,” Hill explained to the crowd of brief, seven-song preview performances, before acknowledging both the group’s influence and its rocky past.
“We’ve made hip-hop global,” he said, referring to the band’s “complex history” and the long break he took in creating the music (excluding an “unplugged” album and a handful of singles and features, the amount of “misdemeanor” is his discography). When talking about the dominant group in his young life since he was introduced to his “nose-headed cousin” Wycliffe when he was 12, Hill said he wanted to recover the young man he missed as a fugitive.
For his part, Wycliffe’s comments focused on the inhumanity of the Haitian immigration crisis in Texas as he challenged President Biden to resolve the issue, and told the media not to misinterpret his words. Pras didn’t say too much, Wyclef and Lauren stepped back as he spoke, only adding his resonant flow to Fuji’s triple-rape-attack when his turn came.
But of course, the music that the crowd was waiting for, and the group delivered, was on stage for the first time in almost 11 years.
After a slinky horn-driven instrumental intro, a black suit-wickleaf and a red-raffle-clad heel (“I’m facing these ruffles in the air,” he joked) jumped in slow-vibration “The Score,” each voice. And with confidence. With Hib’s husky voice and rough toasting, this wack quickly became aggressive when they fell into the horrible “how many mixes” and a ferocious “zeolites” from Wyclef.
While Hill was chatting and swaying with the wind, it was Wycliffe who was the most lively, watering his Fedora head and jamming his guitar with several short Santana-esque guitar solo and blues leaks.
Audiences roared as the group sang “Fu-ji-la,” and when Hill quickly moved on to a hymn-like version of the team’s breakthrough smash, the cover of their Lori Lieberman’s “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” Her voice has literally moved on, with rich low notes and warm, colorful subtleties – a spooky but joyful melody that she happily embraced the best moment of the evening, “Ready or Not”.
Wycliffe led with a sharp attitude to Bock Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” and Hill supported him consistently. The Classic-to-Fuses Foundation in Lilting Reggae closes at night, just as the wind calms down.
Between the palace and Wyclef were three locked arms with mountains, and the promise of reunion appeared as strong as it was strong.
. How much mix
. Slowly kill me
. Ready or not
. There is no woman, no crying