Forget money. ‘It’s funny how marriage change a situation.’ Lauryn Hill and Rohan Marley may not be married technically speaking, but according to the last, rare interview Marley did with People magazine, they are “spiritually together.” There’s just one minor contradiction though: Marley lists himself as “single” on MySpace, and Madame Lauryn Hill lives with her mother and five children in Jersey. Is that what spiritual togetherness means? Hmmm.
As rosy as the union of a Marley and the great Lauryn Hill might have seemed when we first heard word of it, it’s hard not to notice the evolution of Hill’s music pre- and post- their, er, ‘spiritual togetherness.’ While it might be unfair to all-out blame Marley for Hill’s life choices, Hill’s loss of spirit—and maybe even of self—after choosing him, is hard to ignore.
Before ‘Marley,’ Hill’s lyrics had a soothing, cathartic quality to them, even when she had been singing about breakups. Her songs from Miseducation of Lauryn Hill were joyful at their core and had been strung together in a wholesome, uplifting album. From “Lost Ones” to “Doo Wop” to “Nothing Even Matters,” Hill had been pouring out tunes that were as hopeful as they were honest.
By the time her love, or spiritual marriage, or togetherness, or what-have-you, set in with Marley, her songs seemed to skew more heavily towards his identity, e.g. his Rastafarian roots. From Hill’s eight-minute-four-second song, “Oh Jerusalem” to “The Conquering Lion,” Hill seemed to have chosen a way of speaking, being—and singing, that was not so much foreign to her (after all, she had been borrowing from Rasta culture all along), as it was reminiscent of him.
So. What has Lauryn Hill taught us about love and marriage? It’s fine to break down your walls to receive love, but no, it is not fine to lose yourself and remain broken within it. Maybe Hill’s comeback album, whenever it happens, will return her to herself. If so, the album should be called, Who Is Lauryn Hill? And, it should really tell us who indeed she is, like it did a decade ago.
What do you think?