Lauryn Hill broke through with multi-platinum-selling, Grammy-winning group the Fugees, but with her 1998 solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer established herself as a creative force on her own. She successfully integrated rap, soul, and reggae…
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I’ve been an avid fan of hip hop since the early 90s. The first hip hop song I can clearly recall listening to is Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” at the age of 4 or 5 because it was played all day on the radio. Anyhow since that time my love for hip hop has grown. One thing that has always been an issue in hip hop music though is the lack of a strong female presence. Sure you get the occasional Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Missy Elliot, and Nicki Minaj’s who manage to standout but very few female emcees can actually compete with their male counterparts on a lyrical level. If anything you will normally hear people say “she’s good…for a girl,” which is why artists like Lauryn Hill are an extraordinarily rare gem.
Lauryn is one of the greatest hip hop/R&B artists to ever bless the mic. She has only released one solo studio album in her career, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but my goodness what a masterpiece! Everything from the music, the lyrics, the singing, the rapping, the vocal delivery, the skits, and the overall mood of the album is so perfectly placed that it’s almost impossible to find fault. One of the things I love most about her music is that it actually contains a message. Her multilayered lyrics force you to think about things deeper than sex, power, fame, and the material possessions that the vast majority of popular rappers have talked about in their music for the past 25 years or so.
She’s in the upper echelon of great musicians, period – a class which in my opinion is inhabited by the likes of Paul Simon, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Tracy Chapman to name a few. You don’t have to take my word for it though, listen to the facts. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has sold roughly 18 million copies worldwide, it was the first hip hop album to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, she won 5 Grammys for that album out of 10 nominations, it’s on numerous esteemed “greatest albums you need to hear” lists, L-Boogie herself is on numerous “greatest artists/rappers/lyricists of all time” lists, and The Miseducation was selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry earlier this year by the Library of Congress. Huge achievements.
With all this in mind you can imagine how excited I was when I heard that she’s working on new music and might release a follow up to 1998’s The Miseducation not too far from now. Music producer Phil Nicolo stated that "when she was first getting back into it, there were times when she wasn’t as positive." He continued to say "but I think she’s in the best place I’ve ever seen her. She seems happy and very centered. When I see her, her face lights up." It’s well-known that Lauryn lives in a world of her own so to hear that she’s actually creating is great news for her supporters like me. This isn’t the first time there’ve been rumors that Lauryn is working on new music though, so we can only keep our fingers crossed that whatever material she records will actually be released this time.