Tuesday, November 9, 2010


An enigma can be defined as something or someone that can not be easily explained or understood. Miss Lauryn Hill is just that, a mysterious being that has captivated not only the Hip Hop Generation, but the entertainment world in general. I’ve been a huge fan of her talents, like most hip hop heads, from the first album for The Fugees, Blunted On Reality. Lyrically, she was dense, poetic, dope. And her dopeness wasn’t a “for a female” type either, because she was an elite emcee no matter the gender. It didn’t hurt that she was easy on the eyes either. Her allure was the fact that she seemed to be an everyday woman that you could find in your college class, living next door, working in the cubicle next to yours. She fit within The Fugees collective very well, balancing Wyclef’s Haitian lyrical banter and Pras’ sometimes suspect rhyming abilities.

Blunted On Reality

By the time The Score, the many-times platinum second offering from The Fugees, dropped, Lauryn was a force to be reckoned with. She not only showcased top-tiered lyricism throughout the classic album, but also gave listeners a chance to experience her molasses-dipped voice. Powerful, yet rough, smooth, yet emotional, her singing voice gave the hip hop culture a glimpse into the future that was Lauryn:
The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. On score, time and time again Lauryn shined brightest on cut after cut. “How Many Mics”, “Fu-Gee-La”, “Cowboys” were just a few of the songs that Ms. Hill was at her apex from a lyrical standpoint. She was definitely one of my favorite lyricists at this point, and the listening audience took notice as well.

The Score

The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was a benchmark album that we may never see again. It fit very nicely in the musical landscape that was Neo-Soul at the time, but the album was so much very more. It was part reggae, part hip hop, part neo-soul, all Lauryn. It was also an album that revealed a woman that was maturing with her music. From a songwriting perspective, the lyrics were extremely revealing and introspective. “Lost Ones” was the song that started to shed light on the alleged relationship Lauryn and Wyclef harbored as part of The Fugees. Listening to that song, even to this day, showed a woman that was empowered through her ups and downs. Going through song after song was like reading a diary chapter from her personal musings. I felt connected to Ms. Hill through The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, even though it was quite clear her viewpoint was from a complex feminine perspective.

The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

Once the accolades and acclaim followed after The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, the public could notice a change with Ms. Hill. I’m not alone in saying that she became much more of an introvert and recluse, only making available on irregular intervals. This can be attributed to her growing family and private life, most likely, but I think other factors are involved. The trappings of fame can dishearten even the strongest of individuals, and I believe wholeheartedly that Lauryn Hill was not impervious to this. Demand for her to replicate or exceed her landmark solo project, both by music consumers and the powers that be at her record label (Columbia Records). I’m selfish, I know, because I’m one of the many that has been clamoring for a new release from Lauryn Hill. I’ve been a realist to know that this may not be in the cards. She is just not into playing label politics and being forced to record music for public consumption, at least not at the moment. “Not at the moment” has been something I’ve been saying for more than a decade though. So what gives?

Maybe I, and we, should just let Lauryn live! Obviously, there is a smidgen of sensitivity involved in this matter. Questionable behavior has been exhibited, weird, unexplained visits from nowhere have been documented. Even this past summer’s Rock The Bells concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland was warped with her initial non-performance, then her finally appearing onstage to perform The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. I’ve heard that she was extremely tardy for the party, so to speak, because of sore throat and illness. I’ve also heard that she was getting a manicure and pedicure, and this was the culprit for her gracing the stage at Merriweather three hours late. Story after story has circulated, so I don’t want to be a gossip-monger. Through the trials and tribulations for her, it must be noted that she is human, and she is a mother of five beautiful children. Before she is Lauryn Hill the emcee and vocalist, she is Lauryn Hill the matriarch. Keep that in perspective before ultimately judging her actions, no matter how they may appear on the surface. I think that once the true creative juices start flowing, and we as the public not try to pry, then we will see her artist resurface. I think that it will resurface in a slightly different manner than The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, as judging by her live follow-up album MTV Unplugged No. 2.0. That live recording was stipped down and bare, and I think that is how she will be if and when she releases a full-fledged album again. If she does, we will be all the better for it. If she doesn’t, we’ve all been “Miseducated” by Ms. Lauryn Hill.

MTV Unplugged No. 2.0

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