23 years after the release of her lauded debut studio album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the GRAMMY winner finally revealed why she never dropped a followup effort.
In a recent interview for Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums podcast, Hill explained that no one from her label (Ruffhouse and Columbia Records) “ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album.” She added, “With The Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express. After the Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs EVERYWHERE. People had included me in their own narratives of THEIR successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
Upon reflecting on Miseducation’s legacy, however, she has nothing but rightful praise for the album. “I’ve always been pretty critical of myself artistically, so of course there are things I hear that could have been done differently,” she said, continuing, “but the LOVE in the album, the passion, its intention is, to me, undeniable.”
“I think my intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they’d sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently,” she added. “At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so. … I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe the Miseducation did that and I believe I still do this–defy convention when the convention is questionable.”
Miseducation dropped in August 1998 and opened at No. 1, selling a whopping 422,624 units to set a record for first-week sales for a female artist. She also became the first woman to receive 10 GRAMMY nominations and five wins in 1999; the record went home with Album of the Year and Best R&B Album, “Doo Wop (That Thing)” won Best Female R&B Performance and Best R&B Song and Hill was named Best New Artist.
Elsewhere in music, the 2021 GRAMMYs have been postponed to March due to COVID-19.
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