We’ve heard about the rumors surrounding Lauryn Hill and her strange behavior for years now. Hell, if you’ve attempted to attend one of her concerts in the past few years, you might have seen it firsthand. But those closest to the legendary rapper/songstress, those who have worked with her, have kept quiet…until now. Multi-Grammy and Emmy award-winning jazz musician Robert Glasper spilled all the tea.
He addressed quite a bit of the rumors, the allegations that she steal music and whether or not you can look her in the eye. See what he had to say below. When he sat down with The Mad Hatta Morning Show on 97.9, the host asked if there were artists who were known for their rude and reckless behavior.
I’ll say a name. You ready? Lauryn Hill.
Host: Why you do Lauryn Hill like that?
No. Why she do me like that? I did a show with Lauryn…this was 2008, I guess. It was for Montblanc Jewelry Corporation. She’s getting half a million dollars for this show. It’s a 20 minute show. My friend was the MD (musical director). He said ‘Rob, we’re doing a show in LA. You want to do this show?’ Mind you, two years prior she had been calling me trying to get me to come to her house to audition. I’m already a signed artist. I’m traveling the world doing my own thing. I don’t do auditions. So I was like ‘Sorry, I don’t do auditions. If you want me, you can listen to my album.’
She was calling me talking about ‘Can you play for me over the phone?’ No I’m not doing that. I’m like, ‘No but I do have albums out. Number one Jazz albums on the charts. If you like, you can check those out. I’m not auditioning. I’m not.
So then my boy’s like, ‘Yo Lauryn has a show in New York, do you want to play?’ So I said, ‘What’s the deal?’ He’s like, ‘We’re rehearsing for one week for a 20 minute show.’ So we rehearse a whole week, like 10 hours a day. Every day she comes in and changes the show, changes what she wants to do. Completely.The last rehearsal, she doesn’t show up. Her manager comes in and says, ‘Lauryn’s not really feeling the way you guys have been learning the music so we’re going to cut your pay in half. The last rehearsal. The day before the show. First of all, we weren’t getting paid that much anyway but understand she’s getting half a million dollars. So seriously? You’re going to take these five musicians and cut their pay in half.
Host: Do you feel like y’all were messing up though?
Not at all. It was a superband.
She has a thing of—she likes to fire bands. I can name you—I can rattle off 15 guys off the top of my head. She will go on tour with a band and in the city that they’re doing a show, she’ll hold auditions for her band. One of my boys flew to Japan to do shows in Japan. While she’s in Japan, she’s holding auditions in the hotel, in the ballroom for her band. That’s super gangsta! And nothing’s wrong. The bands are good. She gets the best musicians. She just has a thing.
Anyway, the last rehearsal they go around to everybody, basically like ‘If you’re not cool, you can leave.’ I didn’t need that gig. I’m making money of my own. I have my own career at that time. I was eating a beef patty, I’ll never forget it. And I said, ‘When I finish my beef patty, I’m going home so y’all can do what y’all need to do.’
But look, I’m the principle piano player. I know they need me. The gig’s tomorrow. So I’m like, I’m going home. I walk out. The manager runs— first of all, before she even came in, the MD, my friend said, ‘Just so you know, don’t look her in the eye and you have to call her Ms. Hill.
Host: So those rumors be true?
That’s 100 percent true.
One of the days at rehearsal, she said, ‘Robert, I need you to…’ and I said, ‘Ok Lauryn.’ Respect, I respect. You can’t come into a situation especially when you’ve already stolen all of my friends’ music. Miseducation was made by great musicians and producers that I know, personally. So you got a big hand off of music that you didn’t even write. You feel me though?
Host: Robert, you know she gon’ hear this?
100 percent. I’m ready. I don’t care because nothing I’m saying is a lie. Point to me where the lie is, then we can have a conversation. But if she looks at it, it’s 100 percent true— that’s why they got their money.
Host: That’s why she rearranges the music on the tour, right?
Yes! All kinds of stuff. I went into it knowing, ‘Okay, you steal music.’
Host: Who steals music?
Lauryn Hill. I’ve met Stevie Wonder and hung out with Stevie Wonder. I’ve met Quincy Jones and hung out with Quincy Jones. I’ve met Herbie Hancock, hung out with Herbie Hancock. If those three people can be cool, Lauryn Hill should be able to be cool. You haven’t done enough to be the way you are. The one thing you did that was great, you didn’t do… I’m out here.
She took the credit for making the classic album. Those songs were written by other people and they did not get their credit. She likes to take credit so she can become this super person. If you’re a super person and you’re that talented…
Host: …Do it again.
Do it! You feel me? She couldn’t tune her guitar in rehearsal. We were in rehearsal, she had my boy Benji tune her guitar.
She would come into rehearsal and say, ‘Benji, guitar.’ And just hold it out like this. And he would run and tune her guitar.
So anyway I leave rehearsal, I’m eating my beef patty, they run after me to the middle of the street. And they said, ‘What can we do?’ I said ‘ Before 4 o’clock you can wire all of my money into my account because now I don’t trust y’all. So if you want me to do this gig, you need to wire my money into my account within 30 minutes. That’s what you can do.’ So I waited. They wired the money into my account and then I went home. I didn’t do the other rehearsal because they already disrespected to me. But I came back for the show the next day.
Host: How did the show go?
It was great. It was 20 minutes.
But I will say this, there was one joyous moment that week. There’s a song called “Doo Wop.” So one day, she was just being a real…you know. So instead of doing “Doo Wop,” I went [opening chords for “Joyful, Joyful.”] She looked at me and sang a verse and a chorus of “Joyful, Joyful.” And then she looked at me and said, ‘Okay back to the…’ So for a minute and a half, we got the Lauryn…she normalized and became—so it’s in there. I really feel like she’s in there.
Something happened. People can change. I’m not sh*tting on her forever. But that’s the stuff that really happened and you’re going to have to take accountability for it at some point and then you’re good.
People can change. I hope she does change. She disrespected a lot of people. A lot of people. A lot of musicians with families.
You can watch this portion of the interview in the video below.
Moral of the story is, be careful how you treat people.