Tim Tan Huynh

The Fugees – “Killing Me Softly”

1 Jun 2016 — Twenty years later, the sights and sounds are still great.

“Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees is definitely my anthem for the spring of 1996. I remember watching the music video early in the morning, walking with my friend to the high school that we’d be attending in the fall, playing basketball scrimmages that had been set up the varsity coaches, and then walking home before going to our elementary school. Watching this video triggers those memories.

“Killing Me Softly” is the eighth track on The Score. The album was released on 13 February in 1996, and the single was released exactly 20 years and one day ago. The song is a cover of a 1973 song Roberta Flack. Both versions are hits of their day, but the latter is better known. The drum beat, bass line, and recognizable sample (from “Bonita Applebum” by A Tribe Called Quest) are distinctly hip-hop, and the vocals of Lauryn Hill dominate the song, as they should.

The video is the reason that I know the song. Lauryn Hill is beautiful and her afro is awesome. I like the concept, especially how the album cover—which is obviously inspired by The Godfather—appears. I remember the video getting Pop-Up Video treatment and some of the trivia from the trademark pop-ups. Specifically, the epilogue is inspired by the movie Cooley High, which I’ve been trying to find for years.