The intro alone marks this song as one of the best. Lauryn Hill’s “Ready or not, here I come” refrain rings out over the sample. That sample is from “Boadicea” by Enya (1987) by the way, although she was not pleased about that, stopping just short of suing The Fugees for copyright infringement.
Either way, it really makes the song, so I’m glad it was used. It’s too nice of a melody to use just once! The “Ready or not” bit is copied from “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love)” by The Delfonics as well, so the original parts really are the rapping and the fact there’s a beat stuck on top.
The rapping is very good, with excellent lyricism and decent flow. It’s one of the standout tracks from the 1996 album The Score, and really showcases the ability of the group. Lauryn Hill is perhaps the most gifted but Wyclef Jean is of course a very talented rapper as well.
The song was most popular in the UK, where it was a number one hit. Interestingly, the song didn’t chart nearly as well in the US, but nevertheless, it was a global hit.
It’s an excellent tribute to the transformative power of good sample based hip hip production, and altogether a true iconic song, covered and remixed itself many times.