The album that changed my life – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Lauryn Hill)
While I’ve been writing this series, I have tried to argue against this album being number one. I could only think of one bad thing about The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill… I still hate those skits.
But any way I cut the cake, this album is a big reason why I am the way I am. From the first listen to this day, this album feels like magic.
I love this album because it reminds me of my father. I remember him giving me this cassette as a present and, on my life, not being the same afterwards. I was 12 years old and I was convinced what I had just listened to was magic… actual magic.
This album is simply magical… and spiritual.
Every single song feels like a Horcrux: Lauryn injected a little bit of her soul into single track, which means there isn’t a single throwaway to be had. As much as I absolutely love Ex-Factor, I still feel like I had no right to listen to that song. That song was not for my ears, for anyone else’s other than Ms Hill and Mr Jean.
And the songs just keep getting more personal and, to an extent, harder to listen to because they feel like they are being sung by a woman undergoing therapy in the recording booth. For example, To Zion: Lauryn talks about choosing to keep her baby son despite pressures from family, friends and the music business to abort him. To say that To Zion is a brave and profound song is really doing it a disservice.
But if I had to choose one reason why I love The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, I’d have to say it’s the fierce energy that Lauryn has throughout the whole album. On the very first track, she kicks off by screaming: “IT’S FUNNY HOW MONEY CHANGES SITUATIONS,” and that same fierce spirit never extinguishes throughout the whole album. Throughout the whole LP she spits nothing but hot molten lava and when she sings, she sounds like a goddess.
It took Lost Ones (and then going back to her Fugees days) for me to come to the conclusion that Ms Hill isn’t anything to fuck with on the mic. Yes she has a beautiful and lush voice but as an MC, she is as cold as any man you come across – just check out Final Hour.
Let me be clear: It was only after this album that I started to take female rappers seriously. If it wasn’t for this album, I wouldn’t be a fan of MC Lyte, Da Brat or Missy Elliot.
There have been male and female artists who have tried to do what Lauryn did on The Miseducation. The most famous of which is Drake – a man that has tried to sing and rap on the majority of his albums. But what these imitators don’t realise is that Hill hit upon something that can’t be replicated – even by herself. No one can do what Lauryn did on this album. I am convinced that this album is a fluke.
This album is fierce, uncompromising and a hard listen. One the other hand, the album is beautiful, touching and delicate. I can’t quite comprehend how one artist can carry this message on her own. How do you follow this?
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is without a doubt one of the greatest albums of all time. I believed this back then in 1998 and I believe this even more today. This album is right up there with anything Marvin, Stevie and The Beatles ever did.