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Consequence of Sound and Sony present The Opus, an exploration of legendary albums and their ongoing legacy. For Season 13, host Jill Hopkins (The Moth Chicago, Making Beyoncé podcast) will explore the Fugees’ second and final album, The Score.

Instead of returning to the studio with outside producers, the Fugees took their $150k advance from Ruffhouse Records and ventured off to … the basement. Specifically, the Booga Basement in East Orange, NJ, where Wyclef Jean’s uncle and his cousin Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis lived.

Booga, along with The Dungeon in Atlanta (where OutKast cut their debut), were two of the most successful underground studios in the game circa the mid-90s. These locales came with a productive, family vibe and endless head bobs to judge the quality of work.


In this episode, host Jill Hopkins speaks to producer Jerry Wonda about building a studio and a sound that would continue the tradition of great New Jersey hip-hop. They also discuss why this kind of DIY ethos is so important to groups in the process of defining their sound.

Also heading into the basement are special guests Chris Schwartz and Joe Nicolo of Ruffhouse Records, in addition to MTV’s Dometi Pongo and Genius executive editor Insanul Ahmed.


Original music by Tony Piazza.

If you missed past seasons of the series, you can find a full archive of The Opus here. You can also enter to win a Fugees prize pack, which includes vinyl, a turntable, and headphones. (Note: If you’re having trouble seeing the widget, enter here.)

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