Wyclef Jean tells the story of “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” the massive hit that almost wasn’t. When the Fugees decided to cover the Roberta Flack classic, they were never going to do it traditionally. Blending elements of A Tribe Called Quest’s classic “Bonita Applebum,” they originally flipped it into a Caribbean sound system-style anthem about battling sound boys.
When Flack’s people weren’t feeling the vibe, Lauryn Hill redid her vocals to give the stunning interpretation that you know today. And even though their label didn’t originally see it as a single, the people demanded it and it became the song that cemented the Fugees’ place in rap history.
“For me, the word ‘hip hop’ always meant eclectic. It can never go nowhere,” says Jean. “With hip hop you can grab anything and make it fit.”
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