Lauryn Hill: Miseducation Nearly 20 Years Later

lhArguably one of the most talented music artists of all time, Lauryn Hill’s name alone brings forth memorable lyrics from the critically-acclaimed album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.  Nowadays, many either want that same old school Lauryn Hill back. But her recent performances have come with mixed reviews of her showing up late, not performing the songs she became famous for, or doing more talking than performing.

It’s been nearly 20 years since her award-winning solo album.  Lauryn herself reflects on the time she was creating music that way:

“I wanted to write songs that lyrically move me and have the integrity of reggae and the knock of hip-hop and the instrumentation of classic soul,” explain Hill. [My engineer and I worked on] a sound that’s raw. I like the rawness of you being able to hear the scratch in the vocals. I don’t ever want that taken away. I don’t like to use compressors and take away my textures, because I was raised on music that was recorded before technology advanced to the place where it could be smooth. I wanna hear that thickness of sound. You can’t get that from a computer, because a computer’s too perfect. But that human element, that’s what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I love that.”

After appearing in court for tax evasion, Hill was sentenced to three months in jail and had to attend “counseling” due to her “conspiracy theories”.

According to the IBTimes, Hill told the court: “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them. I had an economic system imposed on me.” Furthermore, Hill also believes that artists are being oppressed by (what the article calls) “a plot involving the military and media”. Because of these statements, Hill was ordered to undergo “counseling”, on the premise that she was in some way “mentally ill.”

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In 2012, Hill published an open letter describing the corruption, the oppression and the control of the music industry and her desire to escape it. In one part of the letter, Lauryn states:

“It was this schism and the hypocrisy, violence and social cannibalism it enabled, that I wanted and needed to be freed from, not from art or music, but the suppression/repression and reduction of that art and music to a bottom line alone, without regard for anything else. Over-commercialization and its resulting restrictions and limitations can be very damaging and distorting to the inherent nature of the individual. I Love making art, I Love making music, these are as natural and necessary for me almost as breathing or talking. To be denied the right to pursue it according to my ability, as well as be properly acknowledged and compensated for it, in an attempt to control, is manipulation directed at my most basic rights! These forms of expression, along with others, effectively comprise my free speech! Defending, preserving, and protecting these rights are critically important, especially in a paradigm where veiled racism, sexism, ageism, nepotism, and deliberate economic control are still blatant realities!!!”

Here’s what we all all can learn for the rise and education of Lauryn Hill:
1. Don’t kick a person when they’re down – no matter kind of mental illness, real or fake, that Ms. Hill was facing or is facing, no one can benefit from targeting and putting someone down. Everyone has a rough patch sooner or later, so let’s get all the facts and then make a decision on how to help, not tear down.

2. They love you and then they hate you – make no mistake, in the public eye, everyone may love you at one point, there are many who don’t want to see you succeed. Take care of your business so when that happens you can ride the wave without many bumps.

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