Ms. Hill got skills, that’s a gift, it’s real

My ryhmes is heavy like the mind of Sister Betty.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was released in 1998. This album is so amazing, I remember where I was the first time I heard it. From the first listen, it was like Lauryn had been around forever. She could do it all – killer flow, great vocals and lyrics that stated huge truths in simple ways.  Lauryn was unapologetically woman and a strong and well-spoken one at that. It is such an intensely personal album that speaks to the struggles we all face. I listen to this album on a regular basis. It  is inspiring and uplifting, and it never fails to make me sing along or wop it out.

So after the jump, a Lauryn Hill sampler, for fans old and new. Enjoy!

Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem

This is a favorite dance tune, it inspires all sorts of moves from deep within. It’s both retro and modern, something that is not easily accomplished. This video really shows what the album was all about. It was a love letter to those who came before, by someone who knew her history. But the entire time she’s looking back, she’s pushing music forward. Lauryn had a Kanye-like ability to speak wicked truth in simple ways. No one is spared in this song, she just drops truth bomb after truth bomb.  You really have to follow along with the lyrics to catch it all. That’s the beauty of Ms. Hill, it goes down so smooth, you don’t even feel the bite. I think of her as Kanye’s cool and  slightly crazy auntie.

How you gonna win when you ain’t right within?

Lauryn fills my feminist heart with pride. Her songs speaks to the female experience from a woman who knows herself. She speaks of love, loss, and difficult choices. And her songs, much like  other great female anthems such as I will Survive and RESPECT, are from a woman who has overcome and is all the better for it. I think Do Wop (That Thing) should be required listening for every 16 – 18 year old.  It’s feminism from a place of pride and respect, rather than allowing yourself to be exploited people or trends. I love how she gives wisdom firmly, but with love, like a big sister.

Talking out your neck sayin’ you’re a Christian
A Muslim sleeping with the gin
Now that was the sin that did Jezebel in
Who you gon’ tell when the repercussions spin
Showing off your ass ’cause you’re thinking it’s a trend
Girlfriend, let me break it down for you again
You know I only say it ’cause I’m truly genuine
Don’t be a hard-rock when you really are a gem
Babygirl, respect is just a minimum

Niggas f***ed up and you still defending them
Now Lauryn is only human
Don’t think I haven’t been through the same predicament
Let it sit inside your head like a million women in Philly, Penn.
It’s silly when girls  sell their soul because it’s in

Look at where you be in hair weaves like Europeans
Fake nails done by Koreans
Come again
Come again, come again, come again, come again.

 

Everything is Everything

This is such a powerful song, it  has brought me comfort during difficult times. It’s amazing that someone so young speaks with such wisdom and confidence.  She effortlessly blends scripture into hip hop, amazing vocals with powerful lyricism.  It’s a wonderful sing-along when you need strength and inspiration. It is also worth reading all the lyrics.

This video is outstanding as well. NYC as a record on a turntable is a brilliant concept. Everything about this album is artistic and well produced. Watching her, I am proud to be a female hip hop head. And just as Kanye said, I wish Lauryn’s heart still was in rhyming.

Now, eveything is everything, what is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring.
Change it comes eventually.

 

Lauryn’s Legacy

The lyrics, the flow, the beats, every song is both deep and seriously funky. This is an album that should be listened to in its entirety, not cherry picked on i-Tunes. Lauryn’s album often made the list of top ten albums of the 1990’s, which is saying something considering the nineties include the golden age of hip hop.There are so many great songs to be discovered and cherished. If you are going to own only five hip hop albums, this should be one of them.

Don’t think this album is some well kept secret. Lauryn was nominated for TEN grammys and took home FIVE. She has been cited as an influence for many aritists including John Legend, D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Prince, and Alicia Keys among others. She is a sister of hip hop who is given much respect by those who have come since.  Talib Kweli release this touching tribute to her in 2005, the lyrics are beautiful.

And lest you think she is done and gone, think again. You never know where Ms. Hill will pop up next.

Related posts by Bonita Applebum

No woman, no cry

But like a brick wall, I’m too hard to break

All about Eve – I do what they can’t do, I just do me

You gotta let them know, you ain’t a bitch or a ho

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