Back when she was a much more tolerable version of herself, I adored Lauryn Hill.
Like many of you I’ve waited anxiously for her to return to music, convinced it was something that I just needed so badly. But, after several years of erratic stage shows and recent interviews that make her sound like she’s involved in a love triangle with narcissism and psychosis, I have to say that I actually think it might be best if she went the way of Positive K.
Yeah, I said it.
Depending on who you’re talking to, such a statement is good enough reason to pull out a switchblade. Because of course, this is Lauryn Hill. Latin Catholics have Our Lady of Guadalupe. The more dedicated L-Boogie stan will lead you to believe that she is Our Lady of Hip-Hoponia.
She can do no wrong. In fact, she’s never done anything wrong. Not even that Unplugged album, which many will aggressively try to convince you was heaven in three chords and laryngitis. Arguing otherwise means you’re crazy.
Well, after four recent performances this year that were each marred in late starts, hoarse singing, and energetic but hard to follow renditions of her solo and group material, if there’s anyone crazy it’s certainly not the ones who have become exhausted with Lauryn Hill.
It’s not as if she’s no longer talented, but it’s not that far fetched to say with each new performance she’s tarnishing her legacy – and that maybe we’re all waiting in vain for her return.
While it would be great if she proved me wrong, it’s not that implausible to believe I’m not. Those that feel otherwise suffer from what I like to call Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder.
Think you or someone you love suffers from it? I’ve tallied up some of the main symptoms.
1. You pretend her most recent performances are the best thing God has ever allowed you the pleasure of viewing.
Granted, in one performance out in California (pre-Rock The Bells) Lauryn sounded a skeet taste closer to her vocals of yesterdecade, but in this she sounds like her vocal coach was a stunt double in Homeward Bound. This performance is more in line with what I’ve seen than the aforementioned.
In addition to her fledgling vocal ability, I’ve also noticed that she’s sped up all of her tracks. When did she become Twista? I gather she’s tired of singing the same old songs the same way; however, when those songs are the only reason people still pay her any mind you would think she’d sing them the way her fans want to hear them.
If you’re telling yourself you like these remixed classics, I don’t believe you. You want to like them so you won’t scare her away from dropping another studio album.
Which leads me to sign number two.
You think if/when Lauryn Hill returns she will magically change music as we know it.
“Repercussions” is an alright track, but some people feel the minute Lauryn Hill drops a new album all of the stuff on the radio will cease to exist as Jesus and Captain Planet will take over every city’s playlist and play new Lauryn Hill non-stop – forcing every artist in America to shift their style into something more substantive.
She if nothing else, might add some balance but that’s only if she bothers to record a sound similar to what made her famous to begin with – a big if to say the least.
Either way, it should dawn on folks that this is exactly the sort of pressure that sent Lauryn under the rock in the first place. Or so she says anyway. Not to mention, it’s a silly thought given the state of music when Lauryn was around.
Sign number fo’, ya’ll.
You pretend to not remember how music really was at the peak of Lauryn Hill’s popularity.
Don’t you hate when people romanticize previous eras in music? This is a norm for those suffering from LHDD. They act as if superficial, hood-themed, depth deficient material wasn’t around in the 1990s.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill dropped in August 1998. Meanwhile, Foxy Brown’s Chyna Doll dropped the following January. The problem now is a lack of balance, and that problem could be cured by monetarily supporting the people now who are offering something different than what you typically hear on the radio.
Speaking of what you hear on the radio, here’s one of the most annoying symptoms of LHDD.
You believe no other female rapper will matter if/when Lauryn Hill drops another album.
And when I say popular female rapper, I mean Nicki Minaj because she’s the only one. I watched BET’s first musical documentary, My Mic Sounds Nice and looked on at that near-ten minute tribute to Lauryn Hill. I get it, but the salty talk about Nicki Minaj that came at the end of that program sent my patience skydiving.
The commentary from people on various social media networks made my eyes do a variation of the scissor leg.
The most irritating sentiment shared was that Nicki Minaj will magically disappear the day Lauryn Hill releases a sophomore album.
It reminds me of Aaliyah’s birthday when each year some delusional stan says Beyoncé wouldn’t be popular if Aaliyah didn’t pass on so soon. They’re both stupid things to say because they’re untrue and more importantly, it’s rather selfish. There’s a space for everyone. In fact, you should want that.
Then comes additional praise for Lauryn Hill that comes at the expense of other artists (no country or headphones for music snobs), which leads me to the most obvious sign of LHDD of all.
You call out everyone else on their shit, but not Lauryn Hill.
Believe it or not, I really do love Lauryn Hill or at the very least, the image of her I had when her debut dropped. I love her so much that I refuse to pretend that she has not been full of it for years now. She started to lose me around the Unplugged album. Not because of the music per se (although again, it was hit or miss at best).
Lyrically, some of those songs are great and would’ve been better served if they were done in the studio. However, that whole period of her life where she flipped it on fans making it seem it was all of our faults she bumped her head.
Girl, shut up.
Her whole image was based on authenticity and if she felt so “compromised” that has a lot to do with her. She didn’t give those people their credit on the album (an unfortunate habit she still had as of three years ago), she’s the one who incorporated a lot of morality into her work and in the end couldn’t even live up to her own standards.
In fact, she’s the one right now still making fans wait hours to see her as she gets her feet and nails done only to show up offering subpar versions of the songs people loved because she feels bored with them now.
She does this because she is so self-important.
Like when she demanded to be called “Ms. Hill.” As Starr reminded me, Ms. Hill told Trace magazine that she should be called such because in her words, “I am a wise woman and there’s a lot to be learned from me.”
If there’s anything to be learned from her it’s the dangers of treating people as if they’re singing deities.
Lauryn Hill recently said she stepped out of the limelight in order to give her children a normal childhood. That’s admirable, but she also mentioned wanting to be out of the public eye in order to avoid scrutiny.
The latter is something she’s opined before and it’s never made a lick of sense to me given for much of her career she’s been a media darling. She graced the cover of magazines like Harper Bazaar and at one point was offering film roles in Charlie’s Angels and with projects featuring Matt Damon.
She’s typically hailed as a musical genius despite lawsuits that eat away at her credibility and comments from ex-bandmates that suggest she’s a delusional diva.
All of which has been largely ignored by the public at large because people loved that one album so much and want her to deliver another one.
The same can be said of her various relationships with married men. People like to attack others for this but not her (FYI, I say liar liar, genitals on fire for all). I don’t even want to go there with her and those relationships, but I bring them up to say you can’t express contempt for judgment when you often pass judgment in your own music. If nothing else, be fair with it.
That said, what exactly is this harsh media scrutiny she speaks of? Even now when she’s showing up late at every concert date and fans are booing her, I can’t think of any outlet being as critical of her as they have on others for less.
The kid gloves treatment of her coupled with the LHDD plaguing her more dedicated fans has fueled her massive ego for far too long. She is enjoying this attention that she is getting.
Talented as she may be there are plenty of talented people out there. I hope one hurries along so they can show up and show out and give hope to people still clinging to someone who likely won’t ever give what they’re waiting for.
It seems more are stuck on the idea of her despite everything that’s gone on since 2001, hence why I call it Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder.
Make no mistake, if she came back with something decent, I’d be happy.
I just wouldn’t bet on it, and even if she did come back, I’m not certain it would be that worthwhile. She’s become the musical equivalent of a dead beat dad – showing up whenever she feels like it and half-assing her efforts because she knows most will simply take what we can get it from her.
I’m over it and maybe those suffering from LHDD should join me.