If Lauryn Hill had allowed critics to choose her path, she would have left the Fugees after their 1993 debut, "Blunted on Reality" -- andthe best selling hip-hop album ever, "The Score," would never have been more than a dream. Hill... [more]
If Lauryn Hill had allowed critics to choose her path, she would have left the Fugees after their 1993 debut, "Blunted on Reality" -- andthe best selling hip-hop album ever, "The Score," would never have been more than a dream. Hill stuck to her convictions and produced the Fugees' sophomore album, which featured her poignant cover of "Killing Me Softly."
If Hill had allowed family, community, and press to sway her, she would not have given birth to her son Zion, the inspiration for her solo debut album (which some claim is the best album of the 1990s), "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."
The daughter of a high school English teacher and a computer programmer, Hill grew up in a working-class section of South Orange, New Jersey. Praised for her talents early on, by 13 she was singing "Who's Lovin' You" on "Showtime at the Apollo." The Fugees (Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Prakazrel "Pras" Michel) soon formed and flourished. After Hill became pregnant, Wyclef Jean became the first member to split the band and strike it rich with "The Carnival Featuring the Refugee All Stars." After she had Zion, Hill hit the road, going first to New York to record with live instruments, including the timpani and the trombone, and then to Jamaica where she recorded in the sacred studios of the Bob Marley Museum.
"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" earned such praise as the following from the New York Times: "Ms. Hill is a Visionary." The album sweats with anger, passion, intelligence, and play. Rarely bitter, always honest, Hill sings about the challanges and rewards of being active in her community, religion, and politics. About the concept of the album Hill has said, " 'Miseducation' is not really miseducation at all. To me, it's more or less switching the terminology...it's really about the things that you've learned outside of school, outside of what society deems appropriate and mandatory...[T]here was a lot that I had to learn -- life lessons -- that wasn't part of any scholastic curriculum."
Hill has been anything but private about her intimate relationships with both her family and God. Sound clips taken from a discussion with grade-school children on the topic of love are interspersed between tracks on "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," giving the album a fresh sense of both community and youth. Many of the tracks, songs in praise of God, are similar to gospel. Hills says the song that touches her most is "Joy of My World in Zion," in which she thanks God for guiding her through a difficult decision, and celebrates of the life of her son. She explains: "Here is some of the pain I was going through. Here's my human side...It was very strange to me how this became an issue -- this decision of mine. But what began as something dark became the brightest and most important thing to me."
The artist Chuck D of Public Enemy amorously describes as "sunlight" and a "Bob Marley of the 21st Century" is just beginning her promising, influential career. [show less]