Lauryn Hill was born in South Orange, New Jersey. She grew up their with her father, a computer consultant, and her mother, an English teacher. They were both big R&B fans and started her love for music.

Lauryn started singing at thirteen but her parents still placed great influence on the importance of education and so she stayed in school. She was an active member of the school writing poetry, singing in the choir, cheer leading, playing basketball and running. She was also elected Homecoming Queen.

Lauryn's first moves into show business were not in music but in acting. She stared in As the World Turns and more famously in Sister Act 2: Nuns on the Run. It was about this time that she and two friends, Wyclef and Pras, formed the Fugees.

Whilst her early time with the Fugees was interrupted often by acting commitments and the fact that she spent a year at Columbia University. Despite that the band shot to fame and Lauryn became firmly placed in the world of Hip Hop stardom. For full details of Lauryn's time with the Fugees see the write up there.

After their hit, The Score, the Fugees all decided to pursue solo projects. Lauryn decided more immediately to pursue Bob Marley's son, Rohan, and in 1996 she became pregnant. She was advised by many not to keep the baby as it would destroy her career. However she remained strong and went ahead and had the baby. He was a boy, born in 1997, and she named him Zion. The song To Zion is all about this.

Woe this crazy circumstance
I knew his life deserved a chance
But everybody told me to be smart
Look at your career they said
Lauryn, baby, use your head
But instead I chose to use my heart

After Zion's birth Lauryn went to work on her first solo effort, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album was a huge success and Lauryn won five Grammies as a result, a record for a woman. The record received a great deal of critical acclaim and is considered by many as one of the nineties best records.

Despite the success of the album there was the unsavoury event of Lauryn being sued by Rasheem "Kilo" Pugh, a former friend of Lauryn's, and three other members of New-Ark Entertainment-Vada Nobles, Tejumold Newton and Johari Newton. They claim that Lauryn's egomania drove her to hog writing and production credit for the album. Personally I find this all too easy to believe.

Lauryn is also deeply religious. She is devout Methodist, when asked what role God plays in her life she merely replied, 'God is my life'. As with the other Fugees members you'll always hear her 'shout out' and 'big up' the G man on her records.

Lauryn's split with the Fugees seems permanent now. Around 1998 there were a lot of press rumours about bitterness amongst the Fugees. A romance gone sour between Clef and Lauryn, resentment from Lauryn over Clef's success. None of these have been substantiated and the group continued to insist they wanted to work together.

Lauryn is indeed extremely gifted musically. At the tender age of 27 she still has much to give the world of music. She has done sterling work in fusing many styles with Hip Hop and in combination with the Fugees revolutionising the face of Hip Hop with The Score.

However I feel that she is hypocritical and egotistical. She often sings about God and other people's sins yet is she perfect herself, I think not. She talks of other people's sins and condemns them yet she has had two children whilst unmarried. I don't think that's a big deal but I don't go around preaching to people either. In addition I have heard her on the radio in the UK saying that she hopes no 'whities' call in.

These unpleasant traits mean that her wonderful music is spoiled by the lyrics. Maybe she will mature, hopefully, although I think it more likely that she will get more pompous and righteous.


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Discography

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - 1998, Columbia Records

  1. Lost Ones
  2. Ex-Factor
  3. To Zion
  4. Doo Wop (That Thing)
  5. Superstar
  6. Final Hour
  7. When It Hurts So Bad
  8. I Used To Love Him
  9. Forgive Them Father
  10. Every Ghetto, Every City
  11. Nothing Even Matters
  12. Everything Is Everything
  13. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill's debut solo effort. It is a great funky hip hop album and she won numerous awards for it. It is not the best of the solo albums produced by one of the former Fugees, that title goes to either of Wyclef's albums. Despite that I still miss the addition of rapping from Clef and Pras.

There is a tendency throughout the album for the lyrics to be extremely self important and hypocritical in places. Lauryn gives the impression that she believes she has been sent by God to save us all which I certainly find irritating. However if you ignore some of her more irritating lyrics you can get through to the great music underneath.

The final attempt by Lauryn to put you off the album are a series of interludes with a group of giggling girls philosophising in a completely uninteresting fashion on love and their lives. If we wanted to know what foolish girls thought about that we would read E2's user contributed poetry.

MTV Unplugged - 2001

Disc: 1

  1. Intro
  2. Mr. International
  3. Adam Lives In Theory
  4. Interlude (spoken word)
  5. Oh Jerusalem
  6. Interlude (spoken word)
  7. Freedom Time
  8. Interlude (spoken word)
  9. I Find It Hard To Say (Rebel)
  10. Just Like Water
  11. Interlude (spoken word)
  12. Just Want You Around
  13. I Gotta Find Peace Of Mind

Disc: 2

  1. Interlude (spoken word)
  2. Mystery Of Iniquity
  3. Interlude (spoken word)
  4. I Get Out
  5. Interlude (spoken word)
  6. I Remember
  7. Never Forget (So Much Things To Say)
  8. The Conquering Lion
  9. Outro

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