The Tragedy of Lauryn Hill.
The Music Industry is a blood sucking business. There have been many artists that have broken their backs or squeezed every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into the game not to be left homeless, in debt by the label, enslaved by scheming contracts or broke while the Industry makes billions off their talent. Its been an on going cycle since the 40’s and 50s when White label executives and record label owners would create paperwork to purposely keep black artists under control and enslavement. Even going as far as to putting white singing groups on the cover and using their black artists to cover up the vocals so they can make people believe that it were white artists singing their tunes. Record Company Pimping has been going on since the beginning but we never knew that there were different people with the wrong intentions controlling the industry until recently(The Illuminati).
There have been many heated debates for the past three years about the Illuminati been a heated and at many times sensitive topic thats been trending all over not only the Industry but also in barber shops, radio stations, chat rooms, or even DVDs that have been released about the Illuminati takeover in Hip Hop. Many high-profile artists are said to be apart of this takeover as well. While this may have been a forever hot debate, Theres no denying the fact that the Illuminati takeover or the corruption behind the Record Industry caused a downfall to one of Hip Hop’s most gifted female emcees. Lauryn Hill.
The Fugees(The beginining stages)
The story of what happened with Lauryn Hill’s career was a very bizarre one that had its highest of highs and lowest of lows. When she started as a member of the Fugees, People knew that she was a star destined to shine. The Fugees was one of the best Hip Hop Groups in the 90’s and were different from alot of the groups coming out from the East at the time because Lauryn was gifted emcee in her own right along with the ability to sing R&B. Wyclef was a decent rapper in his own right but he brough a whole reggae feel to the group and Pras well.. He was just Pras. A very below average emcee but he fit in well with the group and played his position. Their first album titled Blunted On Reality was a real solid debut from the trio with them following the hardcore boom bap East Coast sound that was popping at the time.
The album sold 2 million copies worldwide but it wasn’t until their sophomore album titled The Score is where the group would achieve superstar status. The album followed by smash singles such as Fugee-La and Killing Me Softly(which had radio game on smash) not only took the group to the next level but also put primary focus on Lauryn Hill as she was obviously the main attraction of the group. The Score would lead to multi platinum sales making it one of the highest selling records of 1996 and even made them eligible to win a grammy. But what people didn’t know was that this was gonna be the end of the Fuggees and a new beginning for their solo careers respectively.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Around that time period, Lauryn Hill was working on her solo abum which would soon to be The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This was gonna be a different direction that Lauryn was gonna take with her music. There were obvious tension within the Fugees crew(Mainly Clef and Lauryn) because Clef was nowhere to be found on her debut album. What really made people pay more alert to the obvious tension between the former band mates were some of the songs on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill were breaking down the relationship between her and Clef and her frustrations with the group. This wasn’t the only battle she was dealing with. She had to fight with the label over her sound and what direction she wanted to take with the album. The label heavily pushed her to go the Prince direction despite the fact that the album had heavy collaborations already. Lauryn felt going that direction may not only throw off the concept of the album but would be against what she wanted to release as an artist. Lauryn wouldn’t budge and stuck with the vision that she planned for her album. Songs such as the first street single Lost Ones showed that Lauryn can still get down with the best of them on the mic when it came to rapping and obviously threw some bars at Wyclef:
But whatever issues were going on at the time became a distant memory once the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill finally hit shelves. The album ended up being a critical and commercial success which made Lauryn Hill a mega solo star overnight. The Miseducation opened up alot of doors of success for Lauryn, Doors that were even larger than the ones that she has went through as a star of a group. Lauryn’s star would shine even brighter as she would be the first woman to be nominated for 10 Grammy awards in one year and setting another record with winning 5 in one night. Her rise to success was well-earned as The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill would remain as one of the greatest albums to have come out within the decade. Lauryn would have not only become a successful artist but a positive spokesperson for positive black women and a classified sex symbol.
But as the Notorious B.I.G. once potently quoted. The more money you make, The more problems you will see and Lauryn’s shining star would slowly crumble starting with lawsuits from New Ark(The group of musicians that heavily contributed to her album) claiming that they co wrote or produced 95% off the album. This accusation was very heavy at the time, It had many people believing that Lauryn was a fraud for not writing all of her music, Lauryn, management, and her label would soon settle for a 5 million agreement in 2001.The fame started to become too much for Lauryn to handle and she started to become dissatisfied with having to maintain a “perfect “image to bare as it gotten to the point where she disliked having to go to grocery stores without makeup.
Lauryn felt that the powers to be had too much of a control of her life. Her relationship with Rohan Marley was also rumored to be on the rocks and felt she had to make drastic changes. She fired her whole management, stopped doing interviews, watching television, and just vanished from the Industry claiming in her words:
“I had to step away when I realized that for the sake of the machine, I was being way too compromised. I felt uncomfortable about having to smile in someone’s face when I really didn’t like them or even know them well enough to like them.”
The rumors began to swarm about Lauryn over the years. That she started doing drugs, she had a nervous breakdown, she joined a cult, or just flat-out went crazy. Alot of the answers to those questions would be revealed on a MTV special unplugged where Lauryn Hill made her first public appearance in years to perform some new material. This was a different Lauryn, A Lauryn that was battling depression, her trademark locks were replaced with a headband and a baseball cap. She sat on a stool with her guitar looking like a lost soul looking for a way out of the lifestyle that she had chosen. Alot of the new material reflected on heartache, pain, and the truth behind the Record Industry who she felt tried to silence her voice and suppress her:
The Fugees Reunion to the Present
She would soon vanish again after this performance.But it wasn’t until 2004 at the Dave Chappelle Block Party is where she would reunite with Clef and Pras to perform the Fugees classic Fugee-La. It was a shocker and built heavily anticipation for a reunion album and showed that the group could still work together as a trio. But like before egos would once again clash with Clef claiming that Lauryn was in diva mode by wanting to be referred as “Miss Hill” instead of Lauryn Hill. She would continue the diva like behavior by not showing up for rehearsals and being late for shows. The highly anticipated reunion would soon fizzle with Lauryn claiming The Fugees was a conspiracy to control, to manipulate and to encourage dependence. I took a lot of abuse that many people would not have taken in these circumstances.”.
Continuing her erratic behavior over the years, Lauryn would make her return doing shows in a bizzardo different look. lot of her appearances over the years have been made wearing a clown wig, bad makeup, circus outfits, with her further angering her fans by constantly showing up usually 45 to 50 minutes late doing shows. Her once beautiful voice became very raspy along with the fact that its clear that Lauryn was either battling some serious demons or soul-searching for a way out of the matrix.
The bottom line is this was a sad way for somebody with the superior talent of Lauryn Hill to go out. Her ego clashes with the Fugees along with her personal vendettas with her record label, ex husband, and her egotism may have led to her breakdown. But if you look at the bigger picture, Lauryn may have went this route to keep herself from selling her soul back to the companies that made her a star and also made her miserable. The truth is Lauryn may have found the truth about the Industry and it scared her to the point where she no longer wanted to involve herself. It’s a situation similar where Dave Chapelle walked away from a 300 Million dollar deal offered from Comedy Central. Dave saw the bigger picture that the corporations were gonna control his image, his show, and his life so he did what many were afraid to do and thats walk away.
Lauryn may have escaped them chains from the Industry but with her bringing Swizz Beatz, JayZ, Beyonce, and other big time stars who are said to be affilated or pawns of the same evil empire. It may be an attempt from the empire to use pawns to reach back out to Lauryn to enslave her or maybe We’re looking too much into it.
But whatever the case maybe, We all hope that Lauryn can find truth, happiness, and not be fooled once again into being a pawn to the game. She is a magnificent artist who just so happened to have gotten lost somewhere along the way. She has made surprise appearances on albums from Kanye, Method Man and had a song dedicated to her by Talib Kweli. We can only hope as fans that she can get her life together and return to the game with a healthy state of mind and a strong will to reveal the truth and fight the battle that has silenced many.