Few female hip hop artists have been able to fill the void that Lauryn Hill left after she stood back from the limelight. Considering Hill’s solo discography is only comprised of one album, the New Jersey native produced some of hip hop and neo-soul’s most beloved songs. Her abrupt exit from music confused many and disgruntled an entire genre.
However, regardless of her personal choice to explore her spirituality when many wanted music, Hill is still a go-to artist if people want style, flow and that quintessential soul. But while Hill and her first album are lauded, sometimes it’s beneficial for listeners to sit back and respect the fact that Hill could sing as well as rap and furthermore knew how to convey a message with her music.
Below, we’re doing just that, sit back and listen back to Lauryn Hill’sisolated vocal for her most lauded song, ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’, the track that was Hill’s first and only number one and got her two Grammy awards.
One of the most successful tracks from The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, the song has gone down in history as, arguably, Hill’s best. Not only because it has an upbeat and jazzy beat, but because it exposed and analysed issues that were plaguing the African-American community, in the process condemning both men and women.
The track is an example of Hill’s knack for telling stories from a human perspective and shows her deep understanding of society. With regard to women, the track addresses issues surrounding vanity, European beauty standards, alcoholism, excessive promiscuity and effective prostitution. In regard to men, she addresses issues surrounding gun possession, negligence of paternal duties, sexual exploitation and the domestic abuse of women.
One of Hill’s only solo music videos, the visual for the track shows two New York block parties side-by-side. One set in 1967 and one set in 1998. Although the clothes are different and it’s a different decade, Hill is singing the same lyrics in 1967 as she is in 1998, which suggests she believed that while, outwardly, in the black community, things like fashion and music had slightly changed, what was afflicting her community in 1967 was still afflicting it in 1998, inferring there was stagnation. The video received four MTV video music awards for ‘Best Female Video’, ‘Best R&B Video’, ‘Best Art Direction’, and ‘Video of the Year’.
The song will go down in history as one of Lauryn Hill’s best-ever tracks and is certified platinum in the UK. As we have reflected on the message of ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’, we may as well listen to Hill’s isolated vocals of the track.