Lauryn Hill- Can she make a resurgence?

November 26, 2013

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A Young Lauryn Hill (Taken from Dallas Observer Blog)

“Killing me softly with his words”– those are some of the most iconic lyrics by not only Lauryn Hill, but in all of the R & B and Soul genres. Black, bold and beautiful was Lauryn Hill’s reign as queen of R&B in the late 90s. So emphatic were her lyrics and tasteful her melodies then. But is there any space for her in this modern era?

Young and Fast Stardom

A native of South Orange, New Jersey, Lauryn Hill showed early signs of musical talent in high school as a member of Translator Crew, of which Wyclef Jean would also become a member of. Almost simultaneously, earlier acting classes and minor gigs  paid off with prominent and memorable acting roles in 90s network television soap opera, “As the World Turns” and in Sister Act 2.

Musically, Translator Crew had been renamed “The Fugees” signed with Columbia/Ruffhouse in 1993, releasing their debut album “Blunted on Reality” in 1993, which reached number 63 that year on Billboard. However, that album would prove to just be a warm up.

In 1996, The Fugees released “The Score,” which featured the hit, “Killing Me Softly,” selling 6 million copies in the US alone and earning the group two Grammy Awards in 1996. Stardom came to the group in a flash, one that the group handled poorly.

In 1997, the Fugees split, allowing Hill to launch her solo career. In 1999, Lauryn released her hallmark piece, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which was the culmination of a 2 year project. From this groundbreaking hit album, Lauryn Hill won 5 Grammy Awards.

Falling Apart

Problems soon surfaced for Lauryn however. In 2000, she publicly began to crack under the pressure and new status as an “ultra” celebrity. After a bit of internal upheaval from a 1999 lawsuit and a 2000 change in management and lifestyle, it was the very public “MTV Unplugged No. 2” release that magnified some of Lauryn’s musical decline, as the album was viewed as unfinished and under developed.

Her decline musically seemed to be a direct result of the malfunctions in her personal life. Her 2003 split from longtime partner, Rohan Marley (son of Bob Marley), her failed reunion tour with The Fugees in 2005, and her failed solo concerts and tours  quickly undid much of the impressive reputation she had earned in the 90s (most notable of her flops was the 2008 Stockholm Jazz Festival).

Most shameful of her decline was her recent stint in jail for over $500k owed in back taxes. Being summoned by the government earlier in the year, Hill had paid only $50k, of the $500k she owed by April 2013. In May, she was sentenced to three months of prison for tax evasion and 3 months of at home supervision. Having now completed her prison time, Hill is given a free space before beginning her home confinement, during which she will go on a brief concert tour.

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(Taken from An older and hopefully more stable Lauryn Hill

A Possible Comeback

As part of this tour, Lauryn Hill will be performing at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan on November 27th at 6 pm and 10:30 pm.

Who will we get tomorrow night and for the rest of this tour? The melodious and conscious vocalist or an oppressed and incomplete shadow of her old self? Many are keeping their fingers crossed for a restored and inspired Lauryn Hill.

More importantly, at age 38, can Hill make a resurgence with not only her loyal fans, but with 17-18 year olds who were just 4 years old when she last made a hit record? We at Dahday believe she can. Her music, when her life was more settled, was not only amazing, but it was culture shifting. Regardless of age, her music is timeless

So just go back to basics and make good music Lauryn. We the fans promise to go there with you.

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