“I was considered an enemy.”
Lauryn Hill took over the music scene in 1998 with her instant classic “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” but, much to the shock of her legion of fans, she never made a follow-up studio album.
During a recent email interview with Rolling Stone for their “500 Greatest Albums Podcast,” the reclusive “Doo Wop (That Thing)” singer, 45, gave her side of the story on why a sophomore effort never occurred.
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“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, EVER…EVER. Did I say ever? Ever!” Hill claimed.
“With ‘The Miseducation,’ there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express,” she continued. “After ‘The Miseducation,’ there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs Everywhere. People had included me in their own narratives of their successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
Hill stepped away from the spotlight, which included a rising acting career, after winning five Grammys for the album. As for the enduring popularity of it, Hill credits how she approached creating the project from the beginning.
“I’ve always been pretty critical of myself artistically, so of course there are things I hear that could have been done differently but the LOVE in the album, the passion, it’s intention is to me, undeniable,” she explained. “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.”
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“At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so,” she continued. “I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe ‘The Miseducation’ did that and I believe I still do this — defy convention when the convention is questionable.”
Later in the interview, Hill spoke about how she brought awareness to social inequality through her music.
“All of my albums have probably addressed systemic racism to some degree, before this was something this generation openly talked about,” she began. “I was called crazy. Now over a decade later, we hear this as part of the mainstream chorus.”
Fans are undeniably ready for Hill to return to the studio, as Rolling Stone placed “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” at number 10 on its list of “500 Greatest Albums.”
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