For decades fans have been begging her to release new music. Now, 23 years after releasing her critically acclaimed debut album, Lauryn Hill reveals why she hasn’t made another solo record.
In a rare interview, the Grammy-winning singer says the only reason she didn’t follow up on her first album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, is because no one at her label reached out to her. Speaking to Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums podcast, the singer chalked it up to “politics” and a lack of appreciation.
thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked, ‘How can we help
you make another album?’,” Lauryn says. “Artist suppression is definitely a
thing,” she adds. “I won’t go too much into it here, but where there should
have been overwhelming support, there wasn’t any.”
Lauryn is widely regarded as one of music’s best lyricists. Her socially conscious songs, ability to rap and sing, and skilful wordplay made her a top artist in the ’90s.
After breaking away from The Fugees in ’97, Lauryn launched her solo career.
She released The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998 to critical and commercial acclaim. Featuring songs such as Doo-Wop (That Thing), Ex-Factor and Everything Is Everything, the album earned rave reviews from critics and fans alike. It went on to break several sales records, and cinched five Grammy awards, including one for album of the year.
The singer credits the album’s success to being ahead of her time. “All of my albums have probably addressed systemic racism to some degree before this was something this generation openly talked about. I was called crazy. Now, over a decade later, we hear this as part of the mainstream chorus,” Lauryn says.
The 45-year-old songbird has since released a handful of singles and a live album: MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, taken from her 2002 performance of the same name.
she’s dropped out of the public eye, Lauryn, who suffers from anxiety,
continues to play at small venues.
The most-requested songs, she says, are still her from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. “At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to challenge the norm and introduce a new standard,” she says of the chart-topper.
“I think my intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they’d sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently.”
Sources: People, Rolling Stone, Bazaar, Essence