Lauryn Hill happens to be another one of those unique “someone’s” that we get once every generation, a special case in the realm of the public eye that has lived a life rich enough to have sat on the peak of the highest social platform. Amazing audiences and listeners everywhere in her natural ability to perform a smooth, neo-soulful art form that has taken her from the largest selling rap group of all time with The Fugees, to topping the Billboard 200 chart with her solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; remaining the fastest selling debut ever for a female artist, winning her five Grammy Awards, one of which includes being the Album of the Year. Yes, Lauryn has seen the top of the mountain, she is special in this case, not only to have experienced unparalleled success, but as an individual who not only has seen the top, but someone who has also fallen from it; plunging, plummeting, and crashing into every rock on the way down.
Since the debut of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998, Lauryn has never released another solo effort besides her 2002 “MTV Unplugged No. 2.0” sets which were recorded live at the MTV Studios in Times Square, and was received through mixed reviews from fans and critics on both sides. An absence of almost fifteen years, Lauryn Hill’s career has survived in an existence riddled in rumor, mystery, and grief. It has coupled everything from the controversy of her fabricated, arguably false, racial comments about album sales, (ones in which she is to have said that she “would rather see babies starve and die than have white people buy her album”), to her ongoing dispute of legal troubles where she has evaded taxes for a total of three years and now owes more than $550,000.
Lauryn, in a “Lauryn Hill sort of way”, made a statement about the situation through her Tumblr account last summer:
Learning from the past, insulating friends and family from the influence of external manipulation and corruption, is far more important to me than being misunderstood for a season! I did not deliberately abandon my fans, nor did I deliberately abandon any responsibilities, but I did however put my safety, health and freedom and the freedom, safety and health of my family first over all other material concerns! I also embraced my right to resist a system intentionally opposing my right to whole and integral survival.
I conveyed all of this when questioned as to why I did not file taxes during this time period. Obviously, the danger I faced was not accepted as reasonable grounds for deferring my tax payments, as authorities, who despite being told all of this, still chose to pursue action against me, as opposed to finding an alternative solution.
My intention has always been to get this situation rectified. When I was working consistently without being affected by the interferences mentioned above, I filed and paid my taxes. This only stopped when it was necessary to withdraw from society, in order to guarantee the safety and well-being of myself and my family.
Nevertheless, and in spite of all that was just said, today is about celebration as Lauryn, and her fans all over the globe have a chance to rejoice after she has announced signing a new record deal, and will team with Sony to launch a label for the release of brand new music. Hill, who is coming off of a recent performance in London, sheds some light on her current situation:
And yes, I am working on new music, my situation is one that better reflects my true contribution as an artist and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working toward this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create and I need the proper platform to do so.
Fans should expect something soon, while the welcome back is sure to be more than warm. Congratulations to Lauryn, her strength during her fights and struggles, and what she has been through to give fans again “That Thing” that they have missed from her for so long.