Lauryn Hill debuted her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill over 20 years ago and never followed up with another studio release.
Finally, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the singer reflects on her decision why and offers insight into what she wanted out of the album. Hypebeast highlights the takeaways from the discussion.
For starters, Hill places blame on Ruffhouse and Columbia Records, her label at the time, for suffocating her creative process with efforts on a follow-up.
“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album…With The Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express. After The Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs EVERYWHERE. People had included me in their own narratives of THEIR successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
When asked what she was hoping to prove when creating the album, she pointed to rising above the lack of support she had behind the scenes. (We’re sensing a theme here).
“The success of the Fugees absolutely set up The Miseducation to be as big and as well received as it was. When I decided that I wanted to try a solo project I was met with incredible resistance and discouragement from a number of places that should have been supportive, so that had a motivating factor, but it was less about proving myself and more about creating something I wanted to see and hear exist in the world.”
She also reflected on whether The Miseducation was the album she intended it to be 23 years ago.
“I think my intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they’d sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently,” she added. “At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so. … I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe the Miseducation did that and I believe I still do this–defy convention when the convention is questionable.”
At 22 years old, Lauryn Hill became one of the most sought-after artists after dropping The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. The album went on to make her a five-time Grammy Award-winner with a fast rise to superstardom. Since then, the singer has amassed an archive of bizarre headlines in the press documenting her struggles with the limelight, her troubled love life, tax fraud, lawsuits, and more.