Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Comments

  1. YoYoLuv says:

    Damn Michael…
    Although I love Lauryn Hill and may suffer from an acute case of LHDD myself, I must agree – you have some good points.

    P.S. You better watch your neck, the stans may just jump all over you for this one, torches, pitchforks and all.

  2. YoYoLuv says:

    Before I go- What show is that last gif from? That guy in the purple looks really familiar.

  3. Jo says:

    And let the church say a fucking men!

  4. Jaye says:

    co-sign Jo!!! I’ve been thinking this for a while, but you know Lauryn Hill stans scary me more than pre-teen Belibers

  5. E says:

    Yoyoluv, that’s from Project Runway a couple seasons ago.

    Great post. And the GIFs make it all the mo’ betta!

  6. Steph302 says:

    Great post! I don’t suffer from LHDD (anyone else think she’s on that stuff?), but I do have a taste of GOAT-itis. Every time I hear a rapper discuss something beyond fast cash and designer clothes, my disease flares up and I call him/her (who am I kidding? him) the Greatest. Right now young Lupe Fiasco is being dethroned by Jay Electronica, king of the mixtape. There is no cure for GOAT-itis, but symptoms subside with heavy doses of late-eighties Rakim.

  7. Chelle says:

    Finally its been said. During an interview years ago, Wyclef mentioned Lauren having Bipolar Disorder. I tend to think its untreated schizophrenia. To be honest I never could see the hype.

  8. Zett says:

    I can’t even say shit. I’m too floored by the…… MICHAEL, where the FUCK did you get that LaToya Jackson GIF?! Lawd, its like looking at a Barbie doll with its original head.

    As for LHDD…. I had a mild case. Until I watched a recent Youtube vid of her at Rock The Bells in NY and it took me FIVE MINUTES to realize what song she was singing.

    And when it all, all falls dooooooown, indeed.

  9. Mia says:

    I have to disagree on this one, and this is coming from someone who is not even a big fan of Lauryn, I feel that you are calling her out on things that your favorites do, you disapprove of the fact that she did not give credit to the writers on her album? Well look at Queen ST. Beyonce, she adds an “OOH” to a song and she thinks shes wrote it! lol, Also I’m sorry, I know you like Nicki Minaj, but A LOT of people find her untalented, vapid, and irritating as hell, she is not an artist in the same category as Lauryn Hill, and the fact that she publicly states that she IS on Lauryn’s level is a display of her growing arrogance which is worse than Lauryn’s because Nicki doesn’t have the talent to back it up, She’s nothing but a FAD.
    Lauryn Hill could sound worse than Whitney Houston does, she doesn’t btw, I actually like the raspiness, it’s sort of like Billie Holiday’s on the Lady in satin album,
    at least her voice isn’t computerized and at least her lyrics don’t sound like verses that were spit by Miss Molly and UP-UP on Romper Room back in the day.

    I think you are irritated with the attention that Lauryn is getting because of the shade it’s bringing to your girl Nicki.
    Don’t deny it Micheal! lol

  10. Ms Badjoy says:

    WOW, all of this has been on my mind as well, I just dont think I could say and put it all together as well as you did! COL (clapping out loud). I agree that Lauryn just comes and goes when she wants….I mean she just had another baby, so thats another college tuition to pay. So yea she is so-called grinding, which is good! Thx to Nicki Minaj. Now everybody is coming out the wood flooring and hoping on some form of hate shit, towards Nicki just to get some light thrown their way. I loved the Mic sounds nice doc. It could have been better had these (excuse my french) Bitches who are going around crying involved them selves and told their own story. @Mia I agree with you sorta as well, Lauryn’s talent could never be matched! When she stopped doing her thing, she basically shut the whole Fugees down, because we all really liked the Fugees for L-Boogie, atleast I did. Anyway, BRAVO to Mr.Cynical himself!!!! Your future looks pretty bright to me. :)

  11. sickwitit says:

    *loud applause* one of your best posts yet…

  12. Kimberly says:

    As much as I love Lauryn Hill and I was one of those people who always said how much we need her back, I could not agree with you more. You made great points. I frequent this site and I must say this is one of your best posts. The stans won’t like it, but only because it’s the truth.

  13. Drew-Shane says:

    the photos get me everytime!

    Yes I too was wishing she would come back. Just to hear some of her music but I guess we have to deal with her horrid style too. People do act like she’s the messiah of music- I don’t think one album cues the horns for a second coming.

    Knowing her, she won’t do anything

  14. Nonayabizznizz says:

    Michael – *shaking finder* Look, I am a soon-to-be 30 yr old, straight, woman but you are about to bring the gay man out in me honey! DON’T YOU EVA talk about Lauren “holier than thou” Hill! How dare you post such valid points about her narcissism then bring to my attention that I suffer from LHDD? How…dare…you. Now I haven’t used my “smake a bitch” hand in over 2 years but you’re about to (as Mya singing the Rugrats song) take me there, I wanna gooooo theeeeeere!

    But on the real I believe it’s the Gemini affect – both her and Kanye suffer from the same thing.

  15. Soulwriter says:

    *applauding* THANK YOU! Can’t add a d@mn thing, except to co-sign on the Gemini effect—those types are geniuses that are QUICK to throw a monkey wrench in the program: Dre (Outkast), KoKo (SWV), Left-Eye (RIP), and Lauryn….they STAY off. I also co-sign with Wyclef’s statement, I interviewed him a cuple of years ago and he said the exact same thing.

  16. MzVirgo says:

    Never had a case of LHDD.

    However, me and the boyfriend did argue about Lauryn and Wyclef hooking up and he said that Lauryn was just as much in the wrong as Wyclef was. Forgot that Rohan Marley was married.

    She had us waiting too long for a comeback album. To me, all of the rumors about her being a diva, well, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    I just think she feels like she doesn’t owe anyone a damn thing and that’s why she’s acting this way (showing up late, half ass performances). She needs to remember, without the fans or stans, there would be no Lauryn Hill.

  17. Iantuition says:

    Um, Miss Mia? Let me clarify something for you. If BEYSUS does INDEED add an “ooh” to a song or even a freaking quarter note or quarter REST to a piece of music, she has changed the work and therefore has earned a songwriting credit, because that is SONGWRITING. She gets a credit, as does everyone else who has any hand in the final product – unlike Lauryn, who took credit for everything herdamnself and then had the gall to say “God” wrote it.

    As for Nicki:

    “A LOT of people find her untalented, vapid, and irritating as hell,”
    A lot of people are idiots.

    “she is not an artist in the same category as Lauryn Hill,”
    Yeah, cause she doesn’t steal credits.

    “the fact that she publicly states that she IS on Lauryn’s level”
    She didn’t, and if you could read and comprehend beyond a third grade level, you’d know this. :)

  18. alist says:

    Lol, a lot of good points, music lovers usually tend to give artists with actual talent a pass on certain things, ex: when some artists decide to lip sync and dance, its like whatever, we know he/she can sing. Or someone gives a lackluster performance, its “well he/she usually kills it!n bad day) etc…as for nicki talk, uhh she most certainly did cosign those comments, so that humble act is b.s. She definitely feeling herself and believe her own hype, nicks cool but until nicki can deliver some conscious rap and sing w/o all that damn autotune, act and compose work from the ground up, she’s gonna have to take a back seat, she is not the second coming..might I add the song with will I am which she is releasing, wtf! she says ppl will see how nice she is on pink friday but putting out these camron like nursery rhyme singles.

  19. YoYoLuv says:

    @ E Thanks- honestly not recogizning that guy was bothering me for a while!

  20. YoYoLuv says:

    whoops recognizing

  21. J2201987 says:

    *In my Gucci Mane voice* Well, DAMN.

    I can agree and disagree. I’m no Lauryn Hill stan (just a moderate fan who has a couple of mp3’s from her only solo album), Lauryn has not been hitting it this season. She sounds a little “off” (though many have been saying this for years), and some her performances have been very lackluster. Per the Youtube videos I’ve watched, she leaves a lot to be desired, which is pretty sad considering the high anticipation that her hardcore fans and stans have whenever she hits the festival circuit, in hopes of a major comeback. I do think it’s wrong to have that kind of pressure put on her to produce a tantamount album if not better than TMOLH.

    That said, this “disorder” can spoken of any stan out there, ESPECIALLY a Beyonce stan, a Lady Gaggums Stan,a P!nk stan, a Rihanna and a Chris Brown stan, etc. They have high expectations and are delusional to believe that the one they idolize so much can shut all ya faves down. So it’s not surprising that LH stans will throw shade at Nicki “Mirage” because they know that only the children (and some shameless) adults enjoy her so much and don’t see longevity in her, while they view L.Boogie has the Allahghandibuddhachrist of female hip hop.

    Sorry Mike, but what you said has been the grievance to many for a long time. Like Mia said, it seems to me that this (post) is more about people finding the ridiculousness of Lauryn Hill’s name being brought up in the same sentence as Tricki Minaj than her supposedly stank attitude and less-than-stellar performances.

    And since I’m a P!nk stan, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALECIA BETH!!!!!

  22. Michael says:

    If you honestly think this entire post is over Nicki Minaj, then you must also think I wrote this post in 8th period on my second day of 9th grade. That’s the nicest way I can respond to something that sounds so utterly ridiculous to me.

  23. I admit, I have a case of LHDD. Probably just all the nostalgia from Mis-education, I just “know” she’ll kill it when she returns, despite YouTube proof of the contrary. I guess I hate to see how the mighty have fallen.

    @YOYOLUV & @E The guy from Project Runway is named Jerrell

  24. [...] It was then that I decided I was probably suffering from Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder. [...]

  25. Now wait just a second! I may still have a longtime affliction with LHDD from my junior high years, but she is STILL capable of delivering!

    You’ll see what I mean if you hop over here –> http://soulbounce.com/soul/2010/09/ron_isley_lauryn_hill_get_close.php

    If this is indicative of what she can still come up with in studio, there is still hope!
    Now let’s ALL join hands in circle, sing the chorus from Everything Is Everything, and wait for the musical salvation that is Lauryn Hill!!!

    :-P

  26. J2201987 says:

    Dude, all you did was write a Stan list! A list explaining the reasons why foolish stans think the way they do. There’s nothing profound about what you’ve written because hardcore fans/stans of ANY artist feels that way. Besides, I believe it was YOU who said “…the salty talk about Nicki Minaj that came at the end of that program sent my patience skydiving,” which could lead anyone (especially me, who’s been reading your blog for over a year and know that you have a thing for Ms. Nicki) to think that this post had a little bit of shade thrown in at Lauryn Hill because someone (thoughtlessly) compared her to Minaj. So please miss me with not finding this one particular post all that enlightning (as other commenters did) because people (still) doubt your fave’s credibility as a true artist. Like I said, I’m no stan of Lauryn Hill, just a moderate fan, but clearly she did mean alot to people who followed her career 10 years ago, and I agree she’s letting them down (as she has been for over five years).

    And yes, if you asked some simple-minded fourteen year old “hater” on twitter, they could have compiled this list in a matter of minutes. Just replace the words “Lauryn Hill” with “Beyonce/Aaliyah/Rihanna/Pink/Lady GaGa/Justin Timberlake/etc…,” while you’re trying to insult my intelligence.

  27. Michael says:

    Okay.

    Obviously, a post entitled “Lauryn Hill Denial Disorder” is directed at a certain faction of fans. You know, like me as I made clear in the post. However, initially the press was adoring her up until very very recently so that factored into the post, too.

    The point of the post was to talk about an artist who’s essentially done her own self in and is placed on a pedestal but maybe no longer deserves to be given her behavior. I wrote about her and not X artist because X artist isn’t the one speaking to the press for the first time in years, and X artist isn’t the one who is finally talking about releasing new recordings publicly versus some purported person close to her camp. It’s topical

    To dismiss it all as snark over Nicki Minaj seems juvenile given you could take that part right out and everything still follows the same driving point. Not even “mad” over it, but found it silly and said so.

    If you’ve read my blog for more than year, then you’d probably be well aware of the fact that the first couple of posts about Nicki Minaj on here weren’t favorable. She annoyed me at the time. I adore Beyonce and have written plenty of posts about her not worshiping the ground she walks on. Being a fan doesn’t shroud objectivity and has not on this site.

    And just so we’re clear: I could give a less fuck if people don’t like Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, or whoever. I’ve seen plenty of your comments disagreeing with me and not said a word. But those comments about this all being about Nicki was to me too simplistic a way to dismiss what I said and I spoke on it. The end.

    Now, I don’t recall ever saying this post was “profound” or “enlightening.” I guess, though.

    I’m not insulting your intelligence, but you continue to insult mine — and that’s simply not going down on my shit.

  28. Iantuition says:

    Alist: “as for nicki talk, uhh she most certainly did cosign those comments, so that humble act is b.s.”

    She actually didn’t. She said that Irv had been privy to hear things that most of the world hasn’t heard yet (i.e. anything besides “Your Love” and “Check it Out” recorded for Pink Friday), so she could see WHY he would make the comment. That’s not the same thing as cosigning.
    Furthermore, Irv didn’t even say she was on Lauryn’s level, he said she COULD be, and that was likely meant to imply that they both can/(could) rap, sing, and act.
    Reading comprehension and critical thinking is key.

  29. Misty Knight says:

    *peeks in* Well! I see all types of snark and cattiness in this piece! :)
    I just came in to co-sign and shit. I think L’s more ardent fans put her on too high of a pedestal both morally and artistically , hell she even said so herself. Its unrealistic the expectations they have for her. In fact the one album that everybody holds near and dear she practically denounced. I highly doubt that she’s coming out with anything, and if she does it’s not gonna be Miseducation part 2.

    With a singer artistically inclined as Lauryn, they typically experiment with a completly different sound on the 2nd album. I had high hopes for an LBoogie comeback, so much in fact that I even cherished her single on the Surf’s Up soundtrack (awesome song by the way) then after reading a couple of erratic quotes and first hand accounts, that failed off again and off again Fugees reunion and that tepid single they put out. Reality set in. LBoogie Gone.
    Sometimes you just have to appreciate an artist for thier most significant piece of work and move the hell on. I’ll always appreciate her work on MOLH, but lightning don’t strike twice.

  30. jazzy says:

    This is pretty funny

  31. darylsmeadnotebook says:

    i agree with nonayabizznizz. those gemini are talented but “special.” lauryn, kanye, prince, maxwell….

  32. mars says:

    this has changed my life. working on some coping strategies.

    but who is that lady in the american idol gif? that is too hilarious.