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Pop - Released August 25, 1998 | Ruffhouse - Columbia

Though the Fugees had been wildly successful, and Lauryn Hill had been widely recognized as a key to their popularity, few were prepared for her stunning debut. The social heart of the group and its most talented performer, she tailored The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill not as a crossover record but as a collection of overtly personal and political statements; nevertheless, it rocketed to the top of the album charts and made her a superstar. Also, and most importantly, it introduced to the wider pop world an astonishingly broad talent. Hill's verses were intelligent and hardcore, with the talent to rank up there with Method Man. And for the choruses she could move from tough to smooth in a flash, with a vocal prowess that allowed her to be her own chanteuse (à la Mariah Carey). Hill, of Haitian heritage, rhymed in a tough Caribbean patois on the opener, "Lost Ones," wasting little time to excoriate her former bandmates and/or record-label executives for caving in to commercial success. She used a feature for Carlos Santana ("To Zion") to explain how her child comes before her career and found a hit single with "Doo Wop (That Thing)," an intelligent dissection of the sex game that saw it from both angles. "Superstar" took to task musicians with more emphasis on the bottom line than making great music (perhaps another Fugees nod), while her collaborations with a pair of sympathetic R&B superstars (D'Angelo and Mary J. Blige) also paid major dividends. And if her performing talents, vocal range, and songwriting smarts weren't enough, Hill also produced much of the record, ranging from stun-gun hip-hop to smoother R&B with little trouble. Though it certainly didn't sound like a crossover record, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill affected so many widely varying audiences that it's no surprise the record became a commercial hit as well as a musical epoch-maker. © John Bush /TiVo
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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released May 7, 2002 | Columbia

Lauryn Hill's debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, became a critical and commercial blockbuster, which the artist herself, always distrustful of the music business, seems to have found a disorienting experience. She has therefore waited nearly four years to make another album, and the album she has made deliberately flies in the face of the previous one and its reception. Resurrecting the MTV Unplugged program, she has gone before an audience with an acoustic guitar in her hands to sing a new group of songs. But that unadorned approach is only the beginning. Everything about the performance is unpolished. One suspects that she would resist even calling it a performance; "I used to be a performer," she notes at the outset. What she is after, in her life and her music, she explains, is "reality," which means everything from being willing to sing the entire set with a raspy voice because that's the state her voice is in on that day to stopping and starting, going up on the lyrics, and even breaking down in tears. The style naturally places an emphasis on the words to the songs, which reinforce Hill's unvarnished approach, attacking the music business and anyone who wants her to be what's she's not, and witheringly criticizing institutions such as the judicial system ("Mystery of Iniquity"). The songs themselves would not require two discs to contain, but they are alternated by lengthy remarks, one spoken interlude running more than 12 minutes, in which Hill elaborates on the importance of being honest and confronting falsehood. She's usually full of herself, and she's often full of it. But that's okay. The point is the unfinished, unflinching presentation of ideas and of a person. It may not be a proper follow-up to her first album, but it is fascinating. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Pop - Released May 7, 2002 | Columbia

Lauryn Hill's debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, became a critical and commercial blockbuster, which the artist herself, always distrustful of the music business, seems to have found a disorienting experience. She has therefore waited nearly four years to make another album, and the album she has made deliberately flies in the face of the previous one and its reception. Resurrecting the MTV Unplugged program, she has gone before an audience with an acoustic guitar in her hands to sing a new group of songs. But that unadorned approach is only the beginning. Everything about the performance is unpolished. One suspects that she would resist even calling it a performance; "I used to be a performer," she notes at the outset. What she is after, in her life and her music, she explains, is "reality," which means everything from being willing to sing the entire set with a raspy voice because that's the state her voice is in on that day to stopping and starting, going up on the lyrics, and even breaking down in tears. The style naturally places an emphasis on the words to the songs, which reinforce Hill's unvarnished approach, attacking the music business and anyone who wants her to be what's she's not, and witheringly criticizing institutions such as the judicial system ("Mystery of Iniquity"). The songs themselves would not require two discs to contain, but they are alternated by lengthy remarks, one spoken interlude running more than 12 minutes, in which Hill elaborates on the importance of being honest and confronting falsehood. She's usually full of herself, and she's often full of it. But that's okay. The point is the unfinished, unflinching presentation of ideas and of a person. It may not be a proper follow-up to her first album, but it is fascinating. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released November 20, 2020 | Active Driveway LTD

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Pop - Released January 15, 1999 | Columbia

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R&B - Released June 18, 2015 | Revive - RCA Records

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Soul - Released November 15, 2019 | Obverse Creation Music

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Soul/Funk/R&B - Released July 15, 2002 | Columbia

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R&B - Released June 23, 2015 | Revive - RCA Records

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released October 4, 2013 | Obverse Creation Music

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R&B - Released June 29, 2015 | Revive - RCA Records

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Pop - Released August 20, 2013 | Obverse Creation Music

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Pop - Released August 20, 2013 | Obverse Creation Music