Classics Corner: Fans anxious for more from Lauryn Hill

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WM. Christian Stephens

wcstephens@radford.edu

 

Noted as the founder of the new age soul Hip-Hop, Lauryn Hill debuted with her 1998 solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The third member of the Fugges, Hill embarked on a career of her own by successfully integrating rap, soul, reggae and R&B.

Raised in South Orange, New Jersey, Hill began singing at an early age. Singing however was not her only talent. Hill soon found herself on TV shows and in feature length films like Sister Act II: Back in the Habit. In the midst of acting and music, Hill also studied at Columbia University.

On The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, she wrote, arranged, or produced just about every track on the album. Thanks to heavy radio rotation of Hill’s single “Doo Wop (That Thing)” the album began to climb the charts through most of the fall and winter of 1998. By the end of the year, the album was being credited for assimilating hip-hop into the 21th century mainstream music. At the 1999 Grammy Awards, Hill won five awards from her 11 nominations.

Those awards included Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and Best New Artist. At the time Hill had broken records by becoming both the first woman ever to be nominated in ten categories in a single year, and the first woman to win five times in one night. Shortly after, she launched a highly praised national tour with Atlanta rappers OutKast.

The album beings with an intro skit. A bell rings and a male teacher beings to call roll, “Lauryn Hill… Lauryn Hill…. Lauryn Hill?”. This skit sets the ambiance for the momentous album. The second track “Lost Ones” infuse old school hip-hop with a modern R&B hook. Hill raps the verses and then sings on the chorus, a technique few can execute. “Ex-Factor”, “Doo Wop (That Thang)”, “Nothing Even Matters” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” are all singles from this album that many are familiar with. However, this album is much more than those popular songs. “To Zion”, “I Used To Love Him”, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” and “Tell Him” are all tracks on this album that deserve equal if not more attention. These tracks stray away from the typical radio hit because the soulful passionate and slow tempo arrangement.

Her solo career didn’t end there. The double-disc MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 appeared in Spring 2002, showcasing an intimate personal performance from Hill. Currently Hill is touring and performing at music festivals of all sort. Fans patiently await another studio album from Hill.