Skip

Lauryn is the New Back
October 4, 2013 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Hip Hop legend Lauryn Hill is set to be released from federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut today. It is the prison Piper Kerman was also in, depicted in the netflix series Orange is the New Black. Lauryn's team has released a new track as part of a new material called Letters from Exile. Consumerism.
posted by cashman (18 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks for the info cashman. I'm glad she's back in the game writing again. This is gorgeous.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:58 AM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's news to me that Lauryn Hill was even in prison. So ... Wikipedia informs that Hill served a 3 month sentence for tax evasion.
posted by dgaicun at 11:08 AM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]




The president's favorite song according to Blender magazine.
posted by dgaicun at 11:15 AM on October 4, 2013


Let's just make Ms. Lauryn tax exempt.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's sad that we only ever got one (good) album from her (Miseducation). Ms. Hill is OK, but definitely not on the same level. I hope she got/gets help for her illness.
posted by e40 at 1:19 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went to a show with Ms Hill before she went to prison, and it was sad. But I still admire her, and my impression was not that she was mentally ill, but that she was over-stressed. If it makes sense to separate the interpretations.
Popular music is an industry that puts a huge pressure on its artists - look at the Sinead o'Connor/Miley Cyrus controversy. Some people can deal with it, some can't. I remember an early interview with Ms Hill, where she was in a car, singing, and it was so obvious that for her it was all about the music, not at all about the fame and fortune. But the fame was there and changed her life and her options.
I wish there was a way to back her up without seeming all fan-girly. Just simply encouraging her progress as a human being and artist.
posted by mumimor at 2:30 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


mumimor: "my impression was not that she was mentally ill, but that she was over-stressed. If it makes sense to separate the interpretations. "

Yes, it certainly makes sense... but an audience member in the audience of a stage show is hardly capable of making a diagnosis like that.

You might as well be guessing what her triglyceride levels were.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:42 PM on October 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


she's got a thin voice and iffy pitch. I've always been a little surprised by her stardom. her comparisons of tax to slavery were hilarious, though. what she lacks in skill she may make up for in unintentional comedic genius.
posted by jpe at 3:37 PM on October 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for that link, DirtyOldTown. I feel nothing but compassion for Lauryn - whatever problems she may have had, i will always remember her for what she did with the fugees. There aren't many female MCs whose rhymes and flow have hit me as hard.
posted by ianhattwick at 4:23 PM on October 4, 2013


Not that mental health isn't an issue, but I am kind of skeptical here.

Has she addressed it herself anywhere?

She underwent court ordered counseling for "conspiracy theories". We don't know if we are talking paranoid delusions here or what or the standard stuff that is just part hip-hop.

People been on her ass for over 20 years based on rumors she said something like she would rather die than have white people buy her albums. No matter how many times she denies it everyone still remembers it.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:25 PM on October 4, 2013


I hope this is just a demo.
posted by chillmost at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2013


she's got a thin voice and iffy pitch. I've always been a little surprised by her stardom.

Thankfully neither of those criteria are the sole determiners of what makes an artist resonate with enough people to be considered a star. For Lauryn Hill it was a combination of choosing songs that played to her strengths, great songwriting, and content that was spot-on for the time in which it was released. But mostly, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a just a really good album.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:36 PM on October 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


Amazing to think that Pras came out of the 90s as the least annoying member of the fugees.
posted by Teakettle at 9:56 PM on October 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Man, I am going to have to listen to it some more but I would put the song "Consumerism" far in the left tail of the distribution of songs she's done. She's one of the greatest MCs hip hop has ever produced, but when she has to actually craft a song alone, she can't. The Myseducation album was a work of genius but despite her wanting some credit for it, she in fact received a lot of help -- more than she typically let's on anyway.

I haven't had to walk a mile in her shoes so I can't judge. I know what its like to have personal struggles. I just wish she actually drew on that more. Myseducation covered themes of capitalism and corporate corruption, but it was primarily about love, and was a clever indictment of herself. She was absent on the day they taught love at school (as can be deduced from when the teacher calls roll and we later listen to kids talk about what love means). A lot of the material that spoke to me was about deeply personal matters. That's part of what made Myseducation work for me.

But since then, she's become the kind of artist who I feel like uses intellectual ideas to protect herself. Her songs are much safer than they were. She takes fewer risks not more. When I think about what I think people should aspire to in their interactions, its honesty and I feel like she doesn't let that kind of honesty into her work anymore. I also just have a hard time with the fact that she went to prison for tax evasion and is singing about consumerism and accusing others of corruption and greed. It just seems like a wealthy person who feels entitled to that wealth despite the fact they have over their consumed the same social transfers that depended taxes being paid. But, it's her life. I just am less and less the intended audience of her music, and that's okay. She and I are in very different places and need different things, and thankfully there are artists who do provided cultural services that I find personally meaningful. And if I hadn't burnt out on Myseducation, I'd still be playing it now as its one of the top albums of all time in my biased opinion.
posted by scunning at 9:32 AM on October 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the only evidence of mental health stuff is hearsay and people just not understanding her choices. Pras said in an interview about ten years ago that she was going to bible studies where the preacher was very critical of money, and he thought that was crazy. Its anything but crazy though, so either there was more to what this preacher was saying, the journalist edited Pras to the point it wasn't coherent or Pras is just himself of a differing opinion about the dangers and evils or wealth.

But to me its not so much mental health issues (I have mental health problems so I don't see any shame in that anyway), but just the publics inability to figure out what her actions means or don't mean that has hurt her reputation. As my therapist has told me, when there is ignorance or uncertainty about what people think you are doing, you can trust that that hole in people's knowledge will get filled with something and probably quickly if you're a celebrity.

Only pieces of information I've had is that she was in a complicated relationship with two men at the same time during the Fugees final days -- Wyclef and one of Bob Marleys sons (Rohan). According to an interview that Wyclef gave a few years ago, that whole thing tore him up and her up, as he was either married or in a pretty serious relationship, and he and Hill were kind of addicted to one another in a way that I think a lot of people can understand even though it was probably self destructive.

But then things with Rohan just seemed so rough -- she ends up having a ton of kids (5 with Rohan) and marries him, but then finds out he's already married to someone else and the marriage is invalid. Stuff that basically just sounded to me like it just sucked. Just heart break for her and others too. But for her especially. She seems to put on a strong public face, and maybe that's part of the constraints of hip hop too. She's not a country western singer like Taylor Swift where the genre and audience practically beg for never ending "over sharing" personal songs. The Fugees were like a lot before and after -- they were politically conscious, and they were cool. And my sense is that the major things that have happened in her personal life have been uncool, and just on the level betrayal, lost love, disappointment. And I just wonder sometimes if she's singing and writing the right songs for her. She seems so judgemental, so angry at times, but not really aware of it. I worry about her (in the way you worry about people you don't know but love, which is to say I am probably way too involved in my own head and shouldn't judge).
posted by scunning at 9:47 AM on October 5, 2013


I think the only evidence of mental health stuff is hearsay and people just not understanding her choices.

On the one hand, it's sad that her alleged mental health issues are up for all to see (and speculate upon). It's not fair that she has faced so many extra pressures, or that strangers get to see when she's having a hard time.

On the other hand, her erratic behavior has been directly witnessed. Not just hearsay. Shaky performances, late performances, odd remarks, cancelled tours, passing out on stage. No, she's not the only musician who has had these problems. That doesn't make them not-problems.

It would be nice to generally set her personal issues aside when talking about her music, but I guess I'm being a hypocrite anyhow...

Pras said in an interview about ten years ago that she was going to bible studies where the preacher was very critical of money, and he thought that was crazy. Its anything but crazy though, so either there was more to what this preacher was saying, the journalist edited Pras to the point it wasn't coherent or Pras is just himself of a differing opinion about the dangers and evils or wealth.

Her spiritual advisor also told her to stop watching television and listening to music. Hill herself said that she was "away from all social interaction" for the two or three years that she had been seeing him. I appreciate that the pressures of fame and the music industry were hurting her, but that advisor's "treatment" does not appear to have helped her.

...

My point is, she observably has personal problems. Those problems aren't our business, and we can't make anything resembling a diagnosis. Nonetheless, this does not seem to be a case where somebody is being directed to a psychologist just because they have unpopular opinions. There's no shame in that, either.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:00 PM on October 5, 2013


jpe: she's got a thin voice and iffy pitch. I've always been a little surprised by her stardom.

Yeah. Without having the dulcet, angel-like voices of stars like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Billie Holiday, it's a wonder she even dared to step up to a mike.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:02 PM on October 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


« Older y2bekarl's Sweet Soul Music Hit Me!   |   Unfulfilled dreams have a way... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post