On August 25, fans of Ms. Lauryn Hill celebrated the 20-year anniversary of her solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The soul-tinged, genre-bending magnum opus cemented Ms. Hill's place in hip-hop history, with the project leading her to win five Grammy Awards and become the first woman to receive 10 nominations and five awards in one night. Additionally, the win for Album of the Year marked the first hip-hop album to ever take home the prize in that category. Needless to say, throughout the past two decades, the bar Ms. Hill set for herself has been placed extremely high, perhaps even to her legacy's detriment.
As such, the iconic singer and rapper opens the door for valid but, at times, harsh criticisms, with many interpreting her lateness to concert appearances, for one example, as indifference or laziness, while others carry a tightly-grasped defense that her intentions are in fact the opposite of how they may appear on face value.
In conjunction with heartfelt tributes being penned honoring the cultural impact Miseducation has had, musician Robert Glasper gave an interview to Houston's 97.9 The Box, during which he airs out several grievances, including that she has underpaid and mistreated both himself and other musicians she's hired, and that she did not offer proper credit to other collaborators who worked on Miseducation. (Years after the album's release, in 2001, Ms. Hill settled a lawsuit on the matter outside of court for a reported $5 million).
After Glasper went in, all eyes shifted to Ms. Hill, as fans couldn't help but wonder if, when, and how she would respond. After tactfully waiting for the anniversary to pass, Ms. Hill decided to go in, penning an in-depth essay that addresses Glasper's claims, among other conversation subjects that have surrounded her name and legacy over the years. Considering Ms. Hill hasn't given a formal interview in over a decade, hearing from the legend herself truly was refreshing, as well as is a lot to process.
During the unfiltered 12-minute read, via Medium, Ms. Hill shades Glasper ("Who are you to say I didn't do enough? Most people are probably just hearing your name for the first time because you dropped MINE in an interview, controversially"); defends her creative vision ("You may be able to make suggestions, but you can't write FOR me. I am the architect of my creative expression); debunks the rumor she's not allowed to play the original versions of her songs in concert (choosing to remix her songs because "I haven't released an album in several years"); and that, yes, she did ask to be addressed as Ms. Hill ("I was young, Black and female. Not everyone can work for and give the appropriate respect to a person in that package and in charge"); among other topics.
I chose to wait until after the anniversary to post this. Thank you everyone for the Love! I’d like to clear a few things up.— Ms. Lauryn Hill (@MsLaurynHill) August 28, 2018
Full statement available here: https://t.co/kbtvoOWD2R
From setting the record straight about why may have been late to her shows in the past to offering her own passionate commentary about Miseducation, Ms. Hill had a lot to get off her chest, choosing to do so in her own way on her own terms. See the statement in full here.