All Articles Tagged "lauryn hill"
Legend has it that every five minutes, someone somewhere in the world asks R&B crooner Maxwell when his next album will drop.
If you follow the “Pretty Wings” singer on social media, you’ll know this statement isn’t far from the truth. He can’t seem to catch a break from well-meaning, hungry fans itching for that new new. And while there has been an influx of soul-stirring music in recent months from the likes of D’Angelo (after a 14-year hiatus), Prince, J.Cole, and Kendrick Lamar, to name a few, our hearts and ears still long to hear the latest from not only Maxwell, but these other legendary artists who like to take their precious time making music: Sade, Lauryn Hill, and Missy Elliot.
I’ll be the first to admit I still harbor a school-girl type of crush on Maxwell, so my unrequited love for the man may get in the way of sensibility. But he did make a few promises he couldn’t quite keep. After the 2009 release of his Grammy award-winning BLACKsummers’night album, Maxwell promised back-to-back albums, a trilogy, in fact. Six years later, fans are still waiting on pins and needles for the second album to be released. The only thing we’ve had to tide us over is his 2012 duet with Alicia Keys, “Fire We Make.” We’re happy for the crumbs but, damn, can we get a full on meal, please? Maxwell even said a duet album was in the works with Keys, but that too has yet to come to pass. Can you blame me for my thirstiness? This is the man who brought us classics like “Sumthin’ Sumthin,’” “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” “Fortunate,” and “This Woman’s Work.” This is a man who is ever humble and whose gratitude speaks volumes. I’m getting all verklempt. Let me move on.
I grew up in a household where three particular songstresses reigned supreme: Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman, and Sade. And while I love all of them, Sade has always held a special place in my heart. Perhaps that’s because she also has a beautiful African name that people have trouble pronouncing (There’s no “r” in Sade, folks. Quit it already). The despair, the heartache, the highs, the lows. Sade sets a mood like no other artist can and understands romantic love in a way I have yet to experience. But she’s also on that 10-year plan. Her last album, Soldier of Love, was released in 2010, which means fans have (at least) five more years to wait before hearing another musical gem. That’s if she even feels like returning. On the Soldier of Love tour, Sade said on more than one occasion that it may be her last (which is unacceptable because I have yet to see her live). After releasing an album and touring the world, Sade loves to return to virtual obscurity. She is the queen of going off the grid and the ease with which she does this is part of her lore and mystique. Sade doesn’t give many interviews, and you know good and well that she’s not on social media. It’s clearly not about the fame with her; it’s all about the music. That’s what makes Sade even more respected, treasured and missed when she disappears off of the face of the earth.
Now, Lauryn Hill…where to begin? The Fugees hip-hop songstress was on top of the world with her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She skillfully balanced love and heartbreak with freeing lyrics that reminded us of our greatness and our potential. Miseducation garnered Hill five Grammys, or maybe it was a billion (she was holding quite a few at the end of the night), and then she basically disappeared, only to reappear with her poorly received MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 album. It was followed up by a self-imposed exile fueled by limited engagements, showing up super late to shows, tax woes, and dissing sprees from critics, former group members, and so-called fans who claimed the singer went off the deep end. While we rightfully want more music from Ms. Hill, we can’t fault the woman for growing or switching up and trying on new styles, musically and creatively. Isn’t that what artists do best? Still, we long for her full on return and hope that maybe the best is yet to come.
When Missy Elliott burst onto the music scene, everything about her was bold and unapologetic, from her lyrics to her fashion sense, and her videos. Aside from her music, Elliott has helped launch and guide the careers of singers like Aaliyah, Nelly Furtado, Keyshia Cole and countless others. Let’s not forget that her surprise appearance during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime performance stole the show. Perry fans wanted more from this “new” artist, and that goes to show you how long she has been out of the spotlight. In recent years, Elliott has been vocal about her autoimmune disorder, Graves’ disease, which at times kept her from even being able to hold a pen to write music. But Elliott says she’s anxious to return. I think her fans are more anxious to hear whatever goodness she has in store.
Despite desperately wanting these artists to come out with more music already, fans get it. We’re not privy to the intricacies of the music industry or the inner workings of these artists’ lives – the personal triumphs and devastating blows. We’re not there as they raise their children or spend precious time with their families. Nor do most of us know anything about the pressures of fame. So when fans get word of canceled concerts, delayed albums, or absolute silence from our favorite artists, we have to remember that they’re human too. They bleed, laugh and love just like we do. And just like us, they need to live their lives. (Everyone can’t be like Beyoncé, dropping albums all willy nilly.) But their music is the soundtrack to our daily lives; their voices timeless, classic and ever-inspiring. And no matter how many times we’ve heard their hits, once a song of theirs comes on the radio, it’s like coming home. Not many artists can evoke that sentiment. So if you’re reading this Maxwell, Sade, Lauryn Hill or Missy Elliott, we’re ready whenever you are.
Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, perhaps the most acclaimed album of the 1990s, will now be inducted into the United States Library of Congress Recording Registry this year, 17 years after it was released. Laced with honesty and a Black feminist approach to love, pregnancy and culture, the former Fugees member’s solo album was deemed brilliant by critics and fans, alike.
In their press release, The Library of Congress said of their choice:
“Lauryn Hill’s debut solo record, following the breakup of the Fugees, is a work of honesty in which Hill explores her feelings on topics that included the deep wonder of pregnancy, the pitfalls of modern relationships and the experience of the sacred. The album effortlessly fuses soul, rhythm and blues, rap and reggae. Hill’s vocal range, smooth clear highs and vibrato are stunning. The rapping is rhythmically compelling while always retaining, and frequently exploiting, the natural cadences of conversational speech. Standout guest performances include Carlos Santana’s soulful acoustic guitar solo on “Zion,” and duets with Mary J. Blige and D’Angelo on “I Used to Love Him” and “Nothing Even Matters,” respectively.”
The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was inspired by Carter G. Woodson book, The Mis-education of the Negro and written in the attic of her New Jersey home during the pregnancy of her first child, Zion. The recording of the album was officially completed at the Marley family’s Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica.
Below is an interview Lauryn Hill did on why she created The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.
According to Jay-Z, Hollywood is the most addictive drug in the world. If that’s true, we know a few stars who have gone cold turkey. We’ve told you in the past about stars leaving the entertainment industry behind for an education, and for Jesus, but the 10 individuals on this list left to raise their families and give their children a life outside of the Hollywood hills.
Kellie Shanygne Jackson (Williams)
After nine years of playing Laura on “Family Matters,” Kellie Williams decided to leave the glitz and glam of Hollywood behind to raise a family. It must feel good to be away from Urkel for good! *winks*
Every now and then she takes on acting work, but Kellie seems extremely happy with her husband and very adorable kids.
Lauryn Hill is ready to hit the road again.
The incredibly talented songstress will perform six intimate shows in Washington, D.C and New York City this February. The series, titled the SMALL AXE: Acoustic Performance Series, will feature Ms. Hill and all of her classics. Lauryn will perform for 250-500 of her fans at small venues in the two cities. Some of the venues include D.C’s Howard Theatre and New York’s Highline Ballroom.
Fans will also be able to meet with Lauryn during a VIP meet and greet. Tickets range from $100-$175 and are already on sell at MsLaurynHill.com. Check out the tour dates below.
Feb. 13 – Washington, DC – Howard Theatre
Feb. 14 – Washington, DC – Howard Theatre
Feb. 17 – Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade
Feb. 20 – New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
Feb. 23 – New York, NY – Highline Ballroom
Feb. 25 – New York, NY – Blue Note (early and late show)
Time flies and we are officially old. One of Lauryn Hill’s oldest babies, Selah Marley, just turned 16 and we’re like, when did she become an almost grown woman?!
The model in training headed to Cali for the weekend to turn up Sweet 16 style with a birthday bash that included celebrity guests like her famous mama, Teyana Taylor and her boo Iman Shumpert, and Harlem rapper A$ap Ferg who, of course, blessed the crowd with his “Work” remix. Plus she had a ninja turtle birthday cake. Yes, we’re jealous! Check out the pics and video of guests singing “Happy Birthday” to Selah Stevie Wonder Style below. Isn’t she lovely?
A photo posted by selah (@selahlmarley) on
A photo posted by @thetealister on
“It’s Like You Have A Disease”: Stars Who Say They Were Ostracized In The Industry For Getting Pregnant
During a recent episode of “Where Are They Now?” with Oprah, Vivica A. Fox said that one of her biggest regrets was that she didn’t have a child. This is something she spoke about in the past, saying that her concern with her career made her put motherhood on the back burner for quite some time.
“I just had been for the last 20 years so focused on Vivica and my career and what was the next job and what was the next thing I could do to…[breaks down].
You get to that point too where you’re like, you can’t [have a child] and then you get a lot of people who are like, ‘Oh well, you can adopt’ and maybe I can. But I did want to try to have my own child.”
She might have halted on having a child to keep her career hot, but it definitely seems that she might have been met with a lot of resistance and disappointment by people in the industry if she did get pregnant. The following famous women have said on more than one occasion that when they revealed that they were with child, those around them were NOT happy. In Hollywood, white hot careers come first…
Writer Stefan Schumacher is so over Lauryn Hill, he had to write an essay about it.
More specifically, in the essay aptly entitled, “It’s Finally Time To Stop Caring About Lauryn Hill,” Schumacher talks about being a lifelong fan of the former Fugees member and falling out of love with her, particularly over her inability to appreciate the fans, especially those who pay to see her in concert.
He writes in part:
I wanted to see Ms. Hill, but something just didn’t sit right with me about paying that much for an artist who hasn’t produced anything of relevance in almost two decades. Not to mention her reputation for being an inconsistent and unreliable performer—canceling shows, coming on stage hours late, passing out.
It occurred to me that, as great as Miseducation and The Fugees’ The Score are, they’re part of a distant past. Lauryn Hill was a great artist. She’s not anymore and it’s time we stop holding her in that regard, waiting for her to pay off on a promise that’s long since expired.
In addition to her poor showmanship at shows, Schumacher isn’t much of a fan of her recent releases either. In fact, he hated her new song, “Black Rage,” which was a formerly unreleased song Hill shared with fans to speak on the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri. He said of the track, “Her singing is thin and uneven and the recording is of poor quality.” You can listen to it here, but personally I don’t think it’s that bad. In fact, it’s probably the best Lauryn Hill we have heard since her debut album. And I mean that sincerely.
Nevertheless, Hill’s inability to duplicate or even maintain any semblance of mainstream success has left Schumacher with questions. Lots of them. An article filled with them in fact:
“What is she doing with her time? How many kids does she have? Is she broke? Will she return to her former glory? What was with that strange acoustic set she did for MTV back in… whenever that was, 2002?”
“Who does one album that sells six million copies in the U.S. alone and another that sells eight million, and then just stops?”
“Remember when Lauryn was winning all those Grammys that year in that white pant suit (1999)?”
“Do we long for DMX’s return to glory? Are we desperate for reunions of Outkast and Black Star, neither of which have made albums in years?”
“Making obligatory appearances for your charitable organization is equivalent to slavery?”
“Did you forget about me?”
Honestly, his inquiry into why Hill has become such a musical disappointment to him (and other tangents) are boundless and apparently unanswerable.
Despite that, he vows:
So I’m leaving Ms. Hill alone. Not because I’m hoping she’ll be back, but because she’s no longer worth waiting on. She has two classic albums under her belt, but she’s more of a memorable flash in the pan than a legend. She used to be great. I used to love her. But not anymore.
Poor Schumacher. And not because he has lost his musical muse, but because, as they say, he done stepped in it now. So much so that rapper Talib Kweli decided to spit some wax poetry of his own in an equally long and flowery piece entitled In Defense of Ms. Hill, in which he argues that Hill is an artist, and as an artist, her first obligation is to deliver an honest expression of her art – despite the desires of her fans.
More specifically he writes:
The great thing about making art for yourself is that if you do it well, millions of people will relate to it and embrace it. They will support you and make it possible for you to have a career and feed your family, all with your art. These are your fans, and their passion, dedication and contribution to your life are to be cherished and respected.
However fans are not your boss, and listening to them when it comes to creative decisions is a slippery slope. I am not obligated to make the same album over and over again just because fans demand it. I am allowed to try new things, succeed at them or fail at them. I am allowed to not make music anymore ever, if that’s what I choose to do. I am allowed to give a sh**ty show or not even show up if I feel like it. Hopefully that will never happen, but if it does, it will never take away from the quality of the work I’ve already put out into the world.
Interesting debate here. And as always, I implore you to read both essays – in addition to this one – to get a clearer understanding of the debate. I will say that I am personally least interested in both of their arguments when it comes to the validity of calling Hill a legend. Like many “great” lists beforehand, this conversation is subjective and not very interesting. And while Kweli might personally still see value in Hill as an artist, Schumacher is well within his right as the receiver of an art to make the determination based on personal appeal.
However, I believe that both sides do raise some interesting and valid points about the responsibility an artist has to his or her fans. As Kweli rightly noted, an artist’s first responsibility is to their art. Period. As a daily columnist, I fully understand the necessity of having the space to explore topics and opinions, which sometimes are contrary to long ingrained public beliefs and thoughts of both society as well as my personal identities as a black woman. I also see the necessity in exploring topics and expressing opinions in places folks feel I am not entitled to. Sometimes the reactions I get bother me, but regardless of how ridiculous they are at times, I still can’t allow the negative responses to sway the way the ball of my pen swerves.
Besides, who wants to read an inauthentic writer?
I am a firm believer that within those spaces of great debate and uncertainty is where innovation happens. And I am quite comfortable with the fact that even if folks don’t agree with me, I like to think that I at least made folks think and challenged a few perceptions of things in the process. That’s what I strive for anyway. And that is what I truly believe makes one a good writer and artist in general. So if Schumacher doesn’t like her new stuff, well, that’s too bad for him, but not necessarily for her or for music in general. I mean, we all know the music scene has changed significantly since Hill first arrived on the scene, so who is to say how another Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album would be received right now? And wouldn’t that be much worse than her putting out new, albeit, different music? Since Schumacher likes ruminating so much, let him answer those questions.
With that said, if I don’t turn in these little trinkets of innovation in some semblance of “on-time,” I’m not going to get published and paid for my work. And rightfully so. I mean, I would love it if folks would just hand me money because they thought I was great and all, but I also understand that those who pay me for my craft want me to actually deliver something. And that is where I believe Schumacher has a major point.
If it is truly about the art for some artists, then they should host free shows and performances where they are free to come at whatever time and junction they want. However, thanks to capitalism, not too many artists can afford to live like that. That’s why we sell our work. And while the act of selling ourselves and our talent does not entitle people to shape who you are, it does carry with it some responsibilities – one of them being to be considerate enough of the people who are making it possible for you to eat and pay off some bills. I’m just saying….
As the unrest in Ferguson continues (though it was a more peaceful evening last night according to reports), Lauryn Hill has decided to speak on the situation in a way she does best–through song.
Through Soundcloud, Hill released an unreleased track that she recorded a long time ago, in her living room, called “Black Rage.” She has performed it at shows in the past, but didn’t put it out for the public, as it’s something of a demo, or “sketch” as she puts it. Seeing the anguish caused by the killing of Michael Brown, she thought it would be fitting to finally share the song. This is what she had to say on Twitter about it:
“An old sketch of Black Rage, done in my living room. Strange, the course of things. Peace for MO. – MLH”
I know you’re probably thinking that with Hill’s unpredictable output, criticized performances, changing voice and the reception to “Neurotic Society” after she was released from jail, this song might be all over the place. It’s not at all. Putting her own twist on “My Favorite Things,” Hill gives a detailed background on why things like the protests in Ferguson are happening, and why folks are so fed up. Police brutality, a poor economy, imprisonment and more, as Hill puts it, “black rage is founded on wounds in the soul.”
I didn’t know what to expect from the song when I hit play, but I’m glad I did. This is the type of music and message we need right now. Social commentary at its finest…and it’s uptempo (well, sort of)!
Take a look at the lyrics and check out the song for yourself below.
This young man is Zion Marley, Lauryn Hill’s son with Rohan Marley. If you’ll recall, on her iconic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, L-Boogie wrote a song for her first-born called “To Zion.” In it, she talked about the worries she had and the pressure put on her by industry folks when she became pregnant, and the joy she felt after Zion came into the world. Hill also said that her pregnancy helped her come out of writer’s block, so we have Zion to thank for that classic album! But that was back in 1998 (the year the album was released). Zion Marley is now 16 (and will turn 17 next month) and looks exactly like his father and his grandfather, Bob Marley. Zion recently traveled to Brazil with his father for the World Cup, and Rohan shared those images on his social media. You can check those out, as well as more images of Lauryn’s oldest child, below and on the next page.
Perhaps Lauryn Hill has forgotten that respect resides on a two-way street. The legendary songstress performed at the House of Blues in Chicago last week. However, instead of sending fans home feeling inspired and uplifted, some left with quite a sour taste in their mouths. According to TMZ, the “Killing Me Softly” singer took the stage 10 minutes shy of an hour before the performance was actually scheduled to begin. To make matters worse, sources say that Ms. Hill’s opening performance wasn’t so good. After hearing one song, a fan began to express his frustration. It’s unclear what the fan said or how disrespectful he got, but when Lauryn caught wind of his remarks, she lectured him about being respectful and demanded that security have him removed from the venue.
“When I get up on this stage, don’t be disrespectful,” Lauryn said. “You could go. No seriously, you can go. Please refund him back his money. If a little patience is too much, it’s alright. You can go. I would prefer that. You not gonna mess up my vibe for the rest of these people. You not gonna do that! You can get up, you can get your money refunded and you can go. I’m alright with that. I’m okay with that.”
Then, Lauryn began calling for security.
“Excuse me, excuse me, there’s a gentlemen over there who just did something I don’t like. Can you please escort him out and refund him his money? I don’t play that. I don’t need to win you over and you don’t need to win me over. You can go and you can take all of your money right back, it’s alright. I do this because I love it—not because I owe you anything. You understand that? I do this because I love it. You can get on your blogs and you can tweet and say whatever you want to. I don’t give a rat’s a–. Give that man his money back. I wanna point this gentlemen out for you. Security, security, you see this man right here sitting with his girl with the screw face on? Give him back his money please. Let him go.”
Another fan who attended the concert expressed that the remainder of Lauryn’s concert was as mediocre as the opening song; however, that may not necessarily serve as a reflection of how the rest of the concertgoers felt. As previously, stated we don’t know exactly what the fan did to set Lauryn off. Personally, I believe that with the same passion Lauryn so adamantly demanded respect from that fan, she should be just as passionate about giving her fans that same respect. Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise