WORDS BY BEN DETRICK
**THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARS IN THE MARCH 2011 ISSUE OF XXL. ON SALE NOW!**
Despite the 4,000-square-foot SoHo loft, a collection of watches worth millions and his stack of platinum plaques, Prakazrel Samuel Michel can't always get what he wants. On a crisp December day, the 38-year-old MC is having lunch at Lovely Day, a Thai restaurant a few blocks from his apartment, and they've run out of pineapple juice. He accepts this imperfect outcome--and a glass of orange juice--just as he's accepted more consequential and disappointing results. Some things, like the breakup of his former supergroup, The Fugees, are out of his hands.
It's been 15 years since The Fugees released The Score, a seminal album that sold over 17 million units worldwide. The breakout sophomore effort calcified the members of the New Jersey trio with roles they would never truly escape: Lauryn Hill was the beautiful and exquisitely gifted singer and rapper, Wyclef Jean was the visionary producer and musician, and Pras was the catalyzing force that helped complete the circle. The group's future appeared limitless, but their stunning success was not to last--at least not in the way most fans had hoped. Over the last decade and a half, The Fugees and their Refugee Camp crew have been cleaved apart by romantic entanglements, rifts between childhood friends, jealousy and incarceration. Despite substantial achievements as solo artists and temporary reunions, The Fugees never recorded another LP as a group and essentially broke up the whole camp.
The Fugees' story has it all: unprecedented achievement, wrenching drama and, more than anything, a nagging sense of squandered opportunity. Pras is willing to tell it. "When it was great, it was great," he says, digging into an order of mixed vegetables over rice.