In 1996 there wasn't a bigger rap group on earth than the Fugees, the group that practically invented the formula of making rap music for white people who don't like rap. In that sense I suppose you can call them pioneers, as this was well before the two-pronged sonic disaster of Kanye West and the Neptunes became the soundtrack for people with bad taste in hip-hop. Yes in 1996, the world belonged to the crew of Lauryn Hill, Wyclef and Pras as they ascended to the top of the charts with their second album, The Score.
Following The Score, the Fugees became international superstars, as Lauryn Hill's Miseducation cd became the CD in everyone's collection that hasn't been listened to since 1998. Additionally, Wyclef scored big with "The Carnival" (which while I am no fan of the man, I'll give him credit for making at least one damn fine album) . And as for Pras, it would be easy to say that he was the Ringo of the group, the one that no one ever said they really liked. He was just "there." But to call him the Ringo of the group is to give Ringo Starr short shrift, as anyone who has seen "A Hard Days Night" knows, Ringo Starr is all sorts of awesome.
In reality, Pras is more like Nick Mason from Pink Floyd, as both filled holes that could've been filled by just about anybody. In Pink Floyd, Mason played a very simple percussion and never contributed to any of the song writing. And in The Fugees, Pras' basically was just there to fill out the last eight bars of a song with another voice so that people didn't get sick of hearing only Wyclef and Lauryn Hill.
And while its been rumored that the Fugees are recording a new album, no one really cares anymore, as Wyclef has turned into a crackhead's caricture of Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill has dedicated her life to fucking the offspring of Bob Marley, and other than his one shining moment on the Bulworth soundtrack nearly a decade ago, the only time anyone ever thinks about Pras is never. Well, unless my friends and I are re-hashing a scene that involves my good friend, Davey Crockett calling Pras a "fruit bar" on the set of his "film." Until now.
Just last week, the NY Post reported this stunning development in the life of Pras, as the once and future Fugee is planning to appear in a documentary about homeless ness called "First Night" in which he'll live on the streets for nine days with a mere $9 in his pocket. And being the Hollywood players that we are here at the Passion of the Weiss, we have an exclusive preview of Pras' nine days on the street, provided for you by Pras writing in the third person. (with a creative debt owed to the Lou Reed blog)
Day 1: Life on the street will be tough for Pras. It makes Pras feel like a Refugee from Guatanamo Bay, Pras feels like messing around the border like he is Cassius Clay. Pras likes messing around borders. Maybe this week will be fun for Pras. Within ten minutes someone will recognize him as a ghetto supastar and his problems will be solved. [10 minutes pass by] No one has recognized Pras yet. Oh well, it does not matter, what matters is how many mics he will rip today, on the daily. Pras does not know the answer to that question. Pras does know it is starting to get chilly. Pras will buy himself a jacket with his $9 dollars. Pras has bought the jacket. Pras is warm now. Fu-La-La-La.
Day 2: Pras is hungry and must buy something to eat. Pras has no money, if only he hadn't been so stupid to have spent all of his money on a warm jacket. Now Pras is warm but starving. This is a contradiction. Pras does not like contradictions. But he does like Wyclef Jean. Wyclef Jean will feed Pras. Damn this cellular telephone. Why can't Pras talk to Wyclef Jean? What does it mean "this number that you have reached is no longer in service?" Wyclef Jean would not change his number without telling Pras? Would he?
Day 3: Pras is dread-locked Rasta, Buffalo Soldier, but more importantly Pras is so so hungry. Pras might be Buffalo Soldier but there are no Buffaloes in New York City. This makes Pras sad. Once Pras read a story about a coyote that got lost in Central Park. Pras could definitely see himself eating a coyote in Central Park. Ready or Not, here Pras comes, gonna find a coyote and eat him slowly.
Day 4: Central Park is not all that it is cracked up to be. But Pras knows that it does have crack. He found this out when another dread-locked rasta tried to sell Pras some crack for $10. Pras asked him if he took credit. The dread-locked rasta only laughed at Pras. Pras screamed at him and told him that he was a major rap star and that he would be very sorry for messing with him. He also told him about the song "Ghetto Supastar," and how he knew ODB. The crack dealer only responded, "I deal crack. Obviously I did too." This did not make Pras feel special.
Day 5: Pras has not eaten in five days. It is the daytime now. Pras sits 90 degrees underneath palm trees, Smokin' beadies as Pras burns his calories. Brooklyn roof tops become Brooklyn tee-pees. But Brooklyn roof-tops do not have food. Pras believes that Pras is going to die. Someone please help him.
Day 6: Pras remembers Lauryn Hill from Pras' internationally renowned supergroup, the Fugees. Pras and Lauryn are friends. One time, she even let Pras watch while she had sex with Wyclef. That was fun for Pras even if they would not let him join in. Pras will call Lauryn for help. [Pras talks with Lauryn Hill]. Lauryn Hill told Pras to pray to God. Pras will pray to God, but God cannot bring Pras food. Pras' lack of money is killing Pras. Softly.
Day 7: Once a very long time ago Pras was in a movie. Maybe the director of the movie can help Pras out of his predicament. Maybe the director can also teach him what the word predicament means too. That would be nice.
The movie was called Turn it up. Pras loved that movie even though that was where Pras met Ja-Rule. Pras did not like Ja-Rule. Ja-Rule told him to "Holla holla." Obviously, Ja-Rule did not know who Pras was. Pras does not holla. He yodels. He is a cowboy. Yo-da-lay-hee-ho. Pras has just lost control of his bladder due to hunger. Pras is wet. Pras is very wet. Pras is in no mood to call the director of Turn it Up.
Pras has a plan. He will go into a store and show the bodega owner his face. They will recognize him. For certain. And if they do not recognize him, Pras has decided that he will rap for them a verse from a very merry song. Everyone likes very merry songs. Pras knows this for certain. Pras will tell the bodega owner that he is a black ceasar who dates top divas. He will tell them about diplomatic legalese and how he has no time for a Visa. Pras will tell that they just begun, and how he's gonna shoot them one by one. Pras will strike with the forces of King Solomon
and lett bygones be bygones. And so on, and so on. Pras will teach these cats how to live in the ghetto. Pras will keep it retro-spective from the get go. He will lay low, let his mind shine like a halo. Pras will politic with ghetto senators on the d-low.
Alas when Pras walks into the owner of the store and sings his song, the owners do not understand a word of what he is saying. The owners are Nepalese. Pras does not like Nepalese. Lauryn Hill told him once to never trust a Nepalese and to only trust Haitians. Pras listens to Lauryn Hill all the time. Even if she is miseducated he does not care. Pras only cares about the music. And about food. Pras will now gnaw on his arm.
Today is Pras' last day on the streets. It has not been easy. Pras does not know if he's going to make it. Wait a minute, he sees a blue angel. Pras likes blue angels. Once he wrote a song about a blue angel. No one liked that song. Not even Pras. It does not matter, Pras is so hungry he will con the angel into coming close to him, then when he least suspects it Pras will eat the angel. The angel will be delicious. It will taste just like smurf. Pras will live after all. Salvation.