“Ha ha ha ha….you shouldn’t diss refugees and ha ha ha ha…your whole sound set boo-ty and…” It was a bold statement that was backed up by as much talent as cockiness. The year was 1995. The Fugees were about to reach the pinnacle of their success and launch an even greater success with their lead singer/sole female MC, Lauryn Hill. The writing was on the wall for Lauryn Hill to eventually go solo and she initially seemed hesitant about branching away from the group. All of this despite the hugely successful “Killing Me Softly” single taken from the Fugees 1996 release, The Score. Not to mention the other songs on the CD that featured Lauryn Hill’s unique vocals and conscious rhymes (I’m still jamming “Ready or Not”). Lauryn Hill quietly released her worldwide success, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. The Score was such a commercial juggernaut, that it had just lost its steam by the time Lauryn’s solo CD was released. Those were the days when music actually had staying power on the charts….but I digress, lol.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill seemed to be an overnight sensation with fans, except me. Never being one to jump on the popularity bandwagon, I bought the CD but couldn’t figure out what was so good about it. But I always respected the creativity and originality of the music on it. Then one day it just hit me…I started liking the CD more and more every time I heard it. By this time, Lauryn Hill had also proved herself as a worthy actress in the film Sister Act 2. Although she played a troubled teenage singer in a high school choir (not too far-fetched from real life), she proved that she could effortlessly switch lanes between singer, actress and rapper. Everything she touched turned to gold and it seemed like she could do no wrong. Songs like “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and “Ex Factor” are timeless classics in my opinion that will forever live on. Despite the millions of records sold and 5 Grammys won in one night (which at the time was the most ever by any female artist), unfortunately, you’re only as good as your last hit. It’s amazing to think that Lauryn Hill has really built her solo legacy from just one CD. So why haven’t we been able to get more music from the former Fugees front-woman? Well, technically we have…
In 2002, Lauryn Hill released a double disc collection of new material from her MTV Unplugged concert. Although the CD did contain some great songs and thought-provoking lyrics, the content was also a bit sporadic. Plus something now seemed a little off about Lauryn Hill’s voice. The smooth, raspy tone that we all knew and loved had turned into….well, just plain raspy. There was still an amazing talent there, just not the kind of spark we saw from her first solo release. She even admitted herself that the craze of stardom messed with her mind and caused her to withdraw from the public eye. Now, 10 years later from her last official release, we have heard promises of new material from her and the Fugees reuniting. Neither have yet to see the light of day. But there may be hope…just this past weekend, Lauryn Hill performed some of her classic hits and new material from her “upcoming” sophomore CD in London. There’s no word yet on a release date of the new material. But I must admit, this is one of her best performances in recent years. Check out one of the clips below.
At a time when hit music is driven by gimmicks, sex appeal, and tabloid headlines, we need Lauryn Hill now more than ever. I really hope she makes a comeback and shows the world she still has it. What do you think? Can Lauryn Hill actually come back to the music scene and still be as relevant as she was over a decade ago? Or have her 15 minutes of fame already expired?
Lauryn, come back. We need you. Some great new music would really be “The Sweetest Thing”.