The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill turns 20 this year, and to celebrate, the singer will be playing the album in its entirety on a North American tour beginning this summer. She’ll kick off in Virginia Beach in July, and finish in St. Louis in October. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, with part of the proceeds going towards the MLH Foundation, the singer’s non-profit organization that “directly contributes support for education, health, agriculture, technology, and community based businesses and development initiatives throughout the Diaspora,” according to the announcement.
Hill’s debut – and only – solo release, Miseducation went eight times platinum in the U.S., and won two Grammy’s (for Album of the Year and Best R&B Album). The singer also took home three more Grammys that year for Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for “Doo Wop (That Thing),” the lead single from the album.
Of the record, she says: “This album chronicled an intimate piece of my young existence. It was the summation of most, if not all, of my most hopeful and positive emotions experienced to that date. I Loved and believed deeply in my community’s ability to both Love and heal itself provided it received the right amount of support and encouragement. Our world today, both complex and changing, is in need of the balance between moral fortitude and cathartic expression. I hope the Love and energy that permeated this work can continue to inspire change with Love and optimism at the helm.”
“Where they from?” hip-hop royalty Missy Elliott interrogates in her Pharrell-produced comeback single, “WTF,” calling out all the names that comfortably rose to fame in her absence. It’s a fair question to ask, coming from the woman who delivered iconic cuts like 2002’s “Work It” and 2005’s “Lose Control”—two tracks that helped unite the once disparate worlds of hip-hop and pop, making it easier for someone like Nicki Minaj to break into Top 40.
In a new interview with Billboard, Elliott fuels the blazing fire first sparked by “WTF” when rap contemporary Minaj is brought up in conversation:
When asked about Nicki Minaj, who is clearly influenced by Elliott, she mock-innocently replies, “Oh, she is?” (Speaking to her influence generally, she adds, “Unfortunately, breaking news, there is only one Missy.”)
Though this was a sly diss true to Misdemeanor’s signature nonchalance, Elliott has given praise to the emcee in past interviews, previously telling New York Magazine that “Nicki makes rapping fun again.” In Billboard, she also reflects on when she was coming up in the industry, acknowledging all the female MCs that were dominating the scene: Lil’ Kim, Lauryn Hill, Eve, Foxy Brown and Trina. “There’s room for so many, she said. “It’s important.” Watch “WTF (Where They From),” below:
New Lauryn Hill material has been making its way into singles and live performances over the past few years, among them the battle-cry "Fearless Vampire Killer" that appeared on tour in 2012 and a cover of Burt Bachrach and Hal David’s "Close to You" with Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers. But Hill hasn’t released an album of new material in more than a decade, and it’s been about 15 years since the world was first introduced to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, one of the most perfect albums of the later half of the 20th century.
But a new Lauryn Hill album seems to be on the way, following reports of a new $1 million deal with Sony which will help her launch her own label, Observe Creation Music, and the release of a new rapid-fire single, "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)." Hill wrote that she was "required" to release the single now on the heels of her Sony deal and needing to pay restitution following her pleading guilty to tax evasion, and yeah, the whole situation isn’t exactly ideal for releasing new music. As she explains on her Tumblr:
"Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… but the message is still there. In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!"
Regardless of the requirement or the legal battle surrounding her, Hill’s new track is as urgent and incisive as her music has ever been, a sped-up series of social critiques set to a fluttering beat. Images of Bobby Darin and James Dean sit alongside "fuel cycle pharaohs" and "hypocritics on salary," and everyone, including you and me, gets called out: "It’s like post-war / they looking for the commenters or who the Marxes is / Ten thousand pictures on Facebook / it’s like the pot callin’ the kettle narcissist / come on really, sayin’ it’s the devil, but you’re the chief arsonist." But don’t take our word on whether or not it means more good things to come, because as Hill says, "Opinions are like assholes, and most of ’em stink." Listen below.
Rock the Bells took over Governor’s Island this past Saturday for a dose of nostalgia, ultra. Big K.R.I.T. and Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, were two of the newest kids on the block amongst a lineup of artists that included Black Star and Cypress Hill, plus Nas and Lauryn Hill, who performed their classic albums Illmatic and The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.
For our group and about 40, 000 concert goers, waiting in line for the ferry commute was a necessary evil, but skewered set times made things a bit difficult, causing us to completely miss Big K.R.I.T. in the shuffle. The talent at this year’s festival was divvied up between the Main Stage (Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Nas), the Paid Dues Stage (Big K.R.I.T., Freddie Gibbs, Immortal Technique, Slaughterhouse), the 36 Chambers Stage (Mobb Deep, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon) and the Grindhouse stage, reserved for battle rappers.
Mos Def and Talib Kweli were the first big performances of the day, delivering hits like “Respiration” and “Definition” from their 1998 album Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star. Erykah Badu took the main stage just before sundown, where she opened her set with “The Healer” from New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) and continued through a set that most fans in attendance were able to deliver line by line.
In the back-and-forth shuffle, primarily between the main stage and 36 Chambers, we got lucky enough to catch Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones,” and the saw the end of Childish Gambino’s set, for which Donald Glover decided to wear his shortest, most provocative pair of shorts.
Lauryn Hill was only a tad late for her set, but not actually late by her own standards of lateness, especially in light of the delays/schedule changes. To the dismay of some fans, Ms. Hill added her own experimental spin to the setlist from The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, incorporating new elements and switching up the sound (a lot), since it’s been over a decade and all. Fugees member Pras was her special guest of the night, standing by her side for “Ready or Not,” but her final guests were pretty interesting, too. At the end of her set, asking the crowd if we could “feel her love,” Hill brought five of her six children on stage, as if saying, “Sorry, this is where my heart has been for the past decade.”
Nas was the final performance of the night, and although hits like “Life’s A Bitch” and “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” can never go wrong, we caught the end of his set while boarding the ferry (did we mention there were about 40k people in attendance?) Before Nas’ closer, Ghostface and Raekwon performed songs from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx and Ghostface’s pre-show banter was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of the night. Listening to him harass the sound and music technicians about providing the right amount of volume and blue lighting was thoroughly entertaining. Someone get this man a standup comedy show.
● “New Jersey is Third World,” ranted a drunk Tracy Morgan before adding that “the world is ghetto.” He’s probably not that impressed by your house, either. [Page Six] ● Lauryn Hill says that Rohan Marley, the father of her first five children, is not the father of her sixth. “We have had long periods of separation over the years but our five children together remain a joy to both of us,” she tweeted. [NYDN] ● Survey says men are most tired of hearing about Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen, and Sarah Palin. Whereas women just can’t get enough of the Biebz: did you hear he took Selena to Hooters? You know, for the wings. [Us]
● Beyoncé is planning to put out a soul food cookbook with the help of who else but her dear friend and Goop publisher Gwyneth Paltrow. [NME] ● Paz de la Huerta thinks Amy Winehouse might’ve been fine had she just seen a few pretty pictures of herself. “She would have gotten more self esteem,” she said, “and not been so self-destructive.” [NYO] ● Prince William is battling a prematurely receding hair line. Jennifer Aniston thinks he should just go with it. Because why not. [E!]
● Lindsay Lohan says she can’t afford to pay for her court-ordered psychological treatment. Or, more likely, she’d just rather not have to. [People] ● Painter Lucian Freud, grandson to Sigmund and psychological portraitist extraordinaire, has died at age 88. [NYT] ● No Doubt has called in Major Lazer to the studio, we imagine to show them what the kids these days are listening to while they ready their first album in ten years. [P4K]
● Simon & Schuster is happy to publish Snooki’s second book, this time a novel about “the sexiest summer ever,” because the publishing industry is pretty desperate and her first book sold a ton of copies. [Celebuzz] ● Guys, James Franco is finally single! He blames his inconceivable schedule for his split with longtime girlfriend Ahna O’Reily. “Then I signed up for more school at Yale,” he says. “I think that was it for her.” [NYDN] ● Rohan Marley left his longtime – and expecting! – girlfriend Lauryn Hill and their five children for a Brazilian model, who went on to tweet the news. Is this just a silly game, Lauryn must be asking. [MTO]
● Robert Pattinson ditched Kristen Stewart at the MTV Movie Awards’ podium to land a big kiss on Taylor Lautner. Eclipse took home nearly half the night’s awards. [Gakwer] ● Speaking of which: a trailer for Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 — the one where Bella and Edward, after several movies of stilted, emotional foreplay, uh, well, you know… It was a good night for all the Twi-hards out there. [HuffPost] ● Don’t be mad about the half-dead models in Kanye’s “Monster” video. “It is an art piece and it shall be taken as such,” quoth West. [KanyeWest]
● Lindsay Lohan has developed a new addiction while under house arrest: ice pops. [TMZ] ● Donald Trump has bought himself a new airplane, complete with suede ceilings and wood paneling, a bedroom with closet space, and gold-leaf detailing “that makes the seat-belt buckles gleam.” All for a reasonable $100 million. [NYP] ● Lauryn Hill is pregnant again. This one will expand her brood to six. [Smoking Section]
The lineup for this year’s Rock the Bells concert series is here, and it’s manna for hip hop fans! How often do you get to see Nas, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu (and many more!) on the same day? But there’s a big downside, and it’s this: Governor’s Island. New York’s most contested mound of goose poop is a hellhole in the summer heat and annoying to get to. Plus, four stages means a lot of the good acts will be going on at the same time. Click through for the reasons you should still go:
The New York date for Rock the Bells is September 3rd. Pre-sale tickets go on sale on June 3rd, and the rest on June 4th. Another option, for those of you willing to travel to Philly, is the Roots Picnic on June 4th. Headlining are The Roots, Nas, and Wiz Khalifa. It seems a bit smaller and more manageable (and I’d daresay cheaper). Here’s the Governor’s Island lineup:
• Nas • Lauryn Hill • Erykah Badu (see her! I beseech everyone to see her live at least once. When I saw her in Chicago, she had a foot-tall blond mohawk and did an extended acid-jazz version of “Appletree.”) • Mos Def and Talib Kweli • Raekwon and Ghostface Killah • Souls of Mischief • Mac Miller • Curren$y • Blu • Cypress Hill • Childish Gambino • Big K.R.I.T. • Immortal Technique • Freddie Gibbs • Murs
Lauryn Hill is making a comeback these days. Sold-out shows this winter at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, a new track (possibly), and now she’s announced a tour beginning next Wednesday in Orlando. Unfortunately for us, she doesn’t seem to have any more dates in New York.
Here are the dates for the new tour:
3/16 – Orlando – House of Blues 3/19 – Miami – Jazz in the Gardens Festival 3/23 – Tampa – The Ritz 3/26 – Myrtle Beach – House of Blues 3/30 – Atlanta, GA – Center Stage 4/3 – Oahu – Aloha Tower 4/9 – Portland – Arlene Schnitzer Hall 4/12 – San Francisco – The Warfield 4/15 – Indio Coachella Music and Arts Festival 4/18 – Los Angeles – Club Nokia 4/23 – Denver – The Fillmore 5/7 – New Orleans – TBD
She’s also joined Twitter, although she hasn’t tweeted yet. Does this we’re mean seeing a full-scale Ms. Hill comeback after years of silence? Back in the fall, she said she was nearing completion on a new album, and that’s pretty much the last I heard about that. We’ll see. In the meantime, some vintage Lauryn during her Miseducation days: