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 the genre’s most beloved songs, but her abrupt exit from music confused many and disgruntled an entire genre.
Hill is still a go-to artist if people want style, flow and that quintessential soul. Hill was a versatile artist, and her first album is lauded. Highly skilled, the New Jersey artist could sing as well as rap and furthermore knew how to convey a message with her music.
The kind of messages Hill explored in her music were often highly political, and she addressed all kinds of issues that were plaguing the African-American community. From the offset, Hill’s music always explored race. From vanity, European beauty standards, alcoholism, excessive promiscuity and effective prostitution to issues surrounding gun possession, negligence of paternal duties, sexual exploitation and the domestic abuse of women. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill certainly touched on some sensitive issues.
But strangely, shortly after the release of her first solo album in 1998, Hill decided to step out of the limelight and still, to this day, many hip hop fans do not know why. It is an intriguing question and one that has been asked multiple times. Hill had talent and was at the height of her career, so many cannot understand why she chose to stop making music.
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine’s podcast, 500 Greatest Albums podcast, when asked if she felt supported recording her debut album, Hill replied, “When I decided that I wanted to try a solo project, I was met with incredible resistance and discouragement from a number of places that should have been supportive.” She also detailed that she was pregnant during the album’s recording.
Continuing, Hill expressed how elements of fame annoyed her, stating, “The idea of artists as public property, I also always had a problem with that. I agreed to share my art, I’m not agreeing necessarily to share myself. The entitlement that people often feel, like they somehow own you, or own a piece of you, can be incredibly dangerous.”
Hill elaborated very thoroughly on how fans and expectations made life uncomfortable for her as she revealed, “The celebrity is often treated like a sacrifice, the fatted calf, then boxed in and harshly judged for very normal and natural responses to abnormal circumstances.”
Speaking on what she should have done in hindsight, Hill “I should have rejected the manipulation, unfair force and pressure put on me much earlier. I would have benefitted from having more awareness about the dangers of fame. I should have been more communicative with everyone truly involved with The Miseducation and fought hard for the importance of candid expression.”
From the interview, fans can sense that Hill was overwhelmed by fame and felt a lot of pressure with the interview, even eluding to manipulation Hill most certainly stands by her decision to exit the industry. You can listen to Hill’s only solo album, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, below.