'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' Turns 25: How Lauryn Created One Masterpiece Album and Dipped

A classic turns 25. How it did all come together?

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Yo, remember back on the boogie when cats use to harmonize like... A classic album that withstands the test of time is a hard one to create. It's even harder to be considered a legendary artist with only one iconic album to your name, and it's an even bigger feat for that one album to be your debut. Lauryn Hill has managed to achieve all three of the things we just mentioned, and she did it with the album she released 25 years ago on this day—The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. One look at the studio album section of Hill's discography shows this to be the only record of hers in this category, and that's because Lauryn Hill essentially dropped one album—one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time—and never returned. Why is that exactly?

It's not like the demand wasn't there for more albums because folks are still asking for Hill's sophomore record to this day, and it's not like Lauryn Hill has dipped off the radar completely, because she has continued to successfully tour off this one record for over two decades—regularly sold out concerts and one-off shows at that. If we had to take a collective guess as to whether or not Lauryn Hill will ever release another album, our guess is going to be a no because... she doesn't need to—ever again. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill set records, broke records, and remains one of the bestselling albums of all time. Let's reflect on how that became the case.

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The build up to 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill'

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In a 2000 interview with The Guardian, Hill said The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill happened spontaneously. "This album wasn't supposed to happen, according to some, and I felt very blessed to able to make something like that and release it," she told the paper adding: "The title of the album was meant to discuss those life lessons. Those things that you don't get in any text book, things that we go through that force us to mature. Hopefully we learn. Some people get stuck. They say that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and these are some really powerful lessons that changed the course and direction of my life."

The release of 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill'

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was an album that resonated and connected with people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds, because everybody has experienced some form of heartbreak, has had ups and downs navigating the path of young adulthood, ups and downs in the respective relationships within their lives, and pressure from something or somebody to perhaps make a decision that you simply do not want to. Now here's where we get to do our favorite part of these reflections—finding an actual review that was put out from the time period these iconic albums, movies, etc. were released.

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A 1998 review from Entertainment Weekly had this to say about the album: "The disc is infused with African-American musical history. When Hill breaks into hardened patois, she recalls the moral fervency of Bob Marley. On the ballads, her buttery voice harks back to Roberta Flack (surely not a coincidence, given the Fugees’ cover of ”Killing Me Softly With His Song”). Her use of harmony singers recalls ’60s girl groups or Marley’s I-Threes. But like ”The Sweetest Thing,” The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is no quick withdrawal from the nostalgia bank. Easily flowing from singing to rapping, evoking the past while forging a future of her own, Hill has made an album of often-astonishing power, strength, and feeling."

The Success

To sum it all up, Lauryn Hill effectively dropped one of the album's of the century despite the fact that it literally came out at the very end of that 100 year period, and it's success still continues on to this day. It's safe to say that part of Hill's greatness is the fact that this record is her only solo one as it adds a bit of mystery to her legacy and overall persona (which always been incredibly private). And according to Hill, we could have gotten a follow-up had her record label just simply given her more support for her sophomore album.

Guess it really could have all been so simple.

What's meant to be is meant to be, and appears that The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is meant to be her only album. We'll leave it with a video of Hill winning "Album of the Year" at the Grammy's because what's better than Whitney Houston presenting you an award of that honor and hyping you up while at it?

'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' Anniversary Tour

Last week, Hill announced that she will reunite with the Fugees for a tour in celebration of her album's 25th anniversary. The US tour start on September 8 in Minneapolis before going to New York and numerous cities around the country. The Fugees will join the tour dates in October and November.

Happy 25th to the album that continues to be the soundtrack to our lives.

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