lauryn hill

Call Lauryn Hill the Mother of Hip-Hop Invention: With her 1998 solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the Fugees' most vocal member not only established herself as creative force on her own, but also broke new ground by successfully integrating rap, soul, reggae and R&B into her own sound. Raised in South Orange, NJ, Hill spent her youth listening her parents' multi-genre, multi-generational record collection. She began singing at an early age, and was soon snagging minor roles on television (As the World Turns) and in film (Sister Act II: Back in the Habit). Her on-again, off-again stint in the Fugees began at the age of 13, but was often interrupted by both the acting gigs and her enrollment at Columbia University. After developing a following in the tri-state area, the group's first released-the much-hyped but uneven "Blunted on Reality"-bombed, almost causing a break-up. But with the multi-platinum "The Score," the Fugees (and especially the camera-friendly Hill) achieved international success, though some pundits took shots at their penchant for cover songs. That criticism made Miseducation even more of a surprise. Hill wrote, arranged or produced just about every track on the album, which is steeped in her old-school background, both musically (the Motown-esque singalong of "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and lyrically (the nostalgic "Every Ghetto, Every City"). In an interesting twist, Hill's album has proven to be such a commercial and critical success that it has shed doubt on the Fugees' future. Their in-fighting has become common knowledge, and matters were complicated when many fans interpreted Miseducation's various anti-stardom rants as a public dissing of co-Fugee Wyclef Jean. For her part, Hill denied a split was in the works, and said the group would drop a new album before the end of the millennium. In-between work with the Fugees and on her own, Hill has given birth to her first child, Zion (immortalized with his own ballad on Miseducation), with another on the way, and worked on various projects, including penning a track for Aretha Franklin's A Rose is A Rose album.



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