Lauryn Noelle Hill was born in East Orange, New Jersey, on May 26, 1975. Best known for being a member of The Fugees, and her solo album, Hill has a rich, raspy alto voice. She is considered one of her greatest rappers of all time. While also evolving the neo-soul genre, she has influenced many artists of various genres.
Lauryn Hill was born in Newark, New Jersey to Valerie and Mall Hill. She has an older bother, her and her family lived in New York for a while before settling down in South Jersey. Her family was very musically oriented. As a child Lauryn acted on the television soap opera As the World Turns and next to Whoopi Goldberg in the film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. Hill has six children, five of them with Rohan Marley. Unfortunately, Hill served a three month sentence in prison for tax evasion.
As a child growing up, Hill frequently listened to Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight. In high school, Lauryn Hill was very academically inclined and had the best grades. She also took violin lessons, went to dance class, and founded the school’s gospel choir. Hill graduated from Colombia high school in 1993. In addition to being a singer, Hill was also an actor. In Manhattan, she took acting lessons and began her acting career in 1991, appearing with Jean in Club XII, MC Lyte’s Off-Broadway hip-hop rendering of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
From 1994-1996 Lauryn Hill was part of a music group called The Fugees, where she also had a romantic relationship with Wyclef Jean. The Fugees became known for their genre blend of reggae, rock, and soul. The group was very famous and well known and had many hits. The Fugee’s most famous album, The Score, peaked at number one on the Billboard 200, selling 6 million copies in the U.S. Lauryn Hill was enrolled at Colombia University at this time but left once The Score went into the millions. In 1997, the Fugees split to work on solo projects.
Hill recorded her solo record, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album had many notable features and had songs that discussed her frustrations with her former group, the Fugees. Also, she made songs about her former lover Wyclef Jean in the piece “I used to love him” and about her decision to have her son even though discouraged by many in “To Zion.” The album was a mix of R&b, hip hop, and reggae. After its release, It sold over 423,000 copies in its first week and sold over 8 million copies in the U.S, 12 million sold worldwide. Later she came out with her last album MTV Unplugged No. 2.0, many gave it harsh reviews, but it still was some of her best work. After the fourth child has begun to wind down her career, she now continues to do sporadic performances here and there.
Being that Lauryn Hill is one of the best artist of her time , she has won many awards throughout her career.
All in all, Lauryn Hill is considered one of the greatest artists of her time. She broke many barriers for female rappers, especially, as she brought melodic rapping to popular music. Her music has influenced numerous artists today with their music. She has inspired many artists, few being Adele, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse, Janelle Monáe, and Rihanna. Lauryn Hill’s music is still so relevant because her work inspires rappers and can even be heard sampled in hip hop today. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill sold 400,000 plus copies in its first week, breaking the record for the highest first-week sales by a female artist at the time. She was also ranked Billboards 7th greatest rapper of all time. Through all her awards and accolades, it’s evident that her music is still so prominent today that she still is one of the most influential people with her diverse singer, rapper, songwriting, and acting backgrounds.
Biography.com Editors. “Lauryn Hill.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 26 Aug. 2019, www.biography.com/musician/lauryn-hill.
Bruce, La Marr Jurelle. “‘The People Inside My Head, Too’: Madness, Black Womanhood, and the Radical Performance of Lauryn Hill.” African American Review, vol. 45, no. 3, 2012, pp. 371–389. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23783546. Accessed 25 Sept. 2020.
Cas. “The Story of Lauryn Hill ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’.” Classic Album Sundays, 29 Dec. 2018, classicalbumsundays.com/album-of-the-month-the-miseducation-of-lauryn-hill/.
Dangerfield, Celnisha L. “Lauryn Hill as a Lyricist and Womanist.” Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations, by Ronald L. Jackson and Elaine B. Richardson, Routledge, 2003, pp. 209–219.
“Lauryn Hill.” Academy of Achievement, 18 Apr. 2018, achievement.org/achiever/lauryn-hill/.
Touré “The Mystery of Lauryn Hill.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2018, www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/the-mystery-of-lauryn-hill-249020/
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