Never mind that bullshit NPR interview. The real reason Lauryn Hill hasn’t put out a real album in 12 years is because everything worthwhile she ever did was secretly written by a guy, whom she subsequently alienated.
She and Wyclef famously had a falling out that had something to do with the fact that she was banging Wyclef. Supposedly many of the songs on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which I’ve yet to hear in its entirety (but mostly just because it came out a year or so before there was a such thing as a Napster), contain subliminal references to their sexual relationship. I don’t know if Wyclef was insisting on her letting him hit that, in order for him to contribute tracks to Miseducation, or what. I’d suggest that it must have dawned on her, at some point in time or another, that she’d been having sex with motherfucking Wyclef, but I know she likes those smelly Caribbean ninjas. Doesn’t she have like six kids with one of Bob Marley’s sons?
I’m not gonna lie – when I heard, back in the late ’90s, that Lauryn Hill had put out a critically acclaimed solo album, I assumed, based mostly on my own sexism (if that’s what you want to call it), that it was secretly written by men, like all great female rap albums. My suspicion was eventually confirmed, when the guys who wrote The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill successfully sued her for trying to claim all of the credit for writing the album for herself.
Just as I suspected.
I was actually less concerned with the fact that she couldn’t come up with an album like that on her own than the fact that she couldn’t give her collaborators their due. As a huge fan of The Score, both literally and figuratively, I don’t have any problem believing that she wrote most, if not all of her own rhymes on Miseducation, on the songs where she actually rhymed – what kind of man, even for a substantial fee, could write a song about a failed sexual relationship with Wyclef? If she’d just admitted that she brought people in to help her flesh out her ideas, she’d seem like a savvy artist. Like Kanye West, for people who actually like Kanye’s music. But trying to front like she came up with all of that shit on her own makes her seem insecure about her creative ability. And beyond that, it just makes her seem like a douche: If I had someone that I could rely on to take the same boring-ass hip-hop news day in and day out and extrapolate it into hilarious conspiracy theories and dick jokes, in case I needed to take a few days off to take advantage of a Reality Kings password that serendipitously landed in my lap, I wouldn’t have any problem giving that person their due. I’d even give them credit for some shit they didn’t even do. I’m generous like that.
The worst, though, is the fact that she orders people people to address her as Ms. Hill. (I’m assuming she’s not married to the Marley kid?) It was the one Lauryn Hill interview that turned out to be true, in the NPR interview. The rest, like the fact that, instead of talking directly to you, she writes on a post-it note and sticks it to your chest, might only apply to interviews with black publications. I’m pretty sure I read about that post-it note shit in Vibe. To her credit, the white chick from NPR may have been concerned that her refusal to address Lauryn Hill as Ms. Hill would have been construed as a race issue. Because if she would have told me some shit like that, I would have been like, “Bitch, please!” Or at the very least, I would have avoided addressing her by her name, period, if I just had to sit through an interview with Lauryn Hill. (Hey, it’s a recession.) But that’s the thing. Who needs Lauryn Hill these days? It was tough to watch the people from Rock the Bells and Urb magazine (to the extent that the two don’t overlap) get jerked around by Lauryn Hill, when it was time to announce this year’s lineup, when the lineup was perfectly fine without her. If you can’t sell out a rap show headlined by Wu-Tang, Tribe, Rakim, KRS-One and Slick Rick, you must be in Houston. Lollerskates. Then, when she finally had sufficiently gouged them (I’m assuming), they released a poster with her billed as Ms. Lauryn Hill.
If it’s not too late, they should seriously consider getting rid of her. The fact that she’s giving them specific names she needs to be called shows she has no respect for them, and you should only tolerate disrespect when you really need the money, like at my day job.