If you listened to Hip-Hop in the late 90’s, you’d recall the massive impact of Lauryn Hill’s debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The United States acknowledged its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance by including the classic album in the archives of the Library of Congress and selected it to the National Recording Registry.
Hip-Hop has entered the doors of The Library Of Congress on several occasions (The Sugar Hill Gang, Tupac, and De La Soul); it is, still, entirely fitting that L-Boogie joins their ranks. Miseducation is no stranger to praise, however. It earned five Grammy awards and amassed critical acclaim from all corners of the music world after its initial release.
In the summer 98’ Miseducation was my mom’s frequent obsession and it was consequently imprinted on my mind during our Sunday house-cleaning sessions. At seven-years-old, life experiences hadn’t yet granted me the ability to understand the depth of Lauryn’s lyrics and messages—it’s importance to the sociocultural milieu, but that didn’t’t stop me from reciting her album cover to cover.
I would belt out the lyrics to “I Used To Love Him,” my squeaky voice imitating the gut-wrenching passion of Lauryn Hill and Mary J. Blige. My mom and I couldn’t agree on how much dusting the coffee table required; but, we could agree that hitting the repeat button on Miseducation was a house-hold necessity.
Lauryn interrogates the world with a critical lens– from the “pretty faced men” who need to “take care of they three or four kids” to the petty women abandoning their natural beauty for “hair weaves like Europeans, fake nails done by the Koreans.”
She critiqued mainstream rappers obsessed with fame in “Superstar,”
and dissected the consequences of hypocrisy and ill-intentions on Lost Ones.
Nothing and no one was off limits. Lauryn even placed herself on the chopping block, examining her romantic life and spiritual beliefs with compelling introspection. She bravely questioned her inability to leave a destructive relationship on “Ex-Factor.”
Lauryn bared every once of her soul in the music. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is a spiritual, philosophical experience with timeless, introspective themes that echo true today, thirteen years after its historical debut.