Lauryn Noelle Hill was born on May 26th, 1975 in Newark, New Jersey. She is the daughter of a teacher and a computer management consultant. Although it was not their professional careers, her family was very musically oriented. Her mother played piano and her father sang. Her parents also had a vast collections of records and albums that would constantly be listened to. She first began singing in middle school and appeared as a contestant on It’s Showtime at the Apollo. Shortly after, Hill and a friend created a band called Translator crew in which they performed locally. As she began to get into acting she was noticed by an agent at a play. She was then cast in Sister Act 2 which is where the world discovered her as an artist. She credits Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and Roberta Flack as some of her inspirations for making music. She has inspired modern artist like Drake, Beyonce, Adele, and Nicki Minaj. As her career has gone on she has been titled as one of the most notable artist in hip hop. While she no longer performs or produces music, she now has six children, five of which are with Rohan Marley who is the son of Bob Marley. Because of her short yet impactful career, Hill is said to be one of the greatest artist of all time in the hiphop genre.
In 1994 Translator Crew renamed themselves as The Fugees and released their first album titled “Blunted on Reality”. In 1996 the group won a Grammy Award on album “The Score”, which sold six million copies in the United States alone. Hill rose to popularity for her African American, Caribbean musical style as well as one of her most well known performances with The Fugees “Killing Me Softly”. After falling out with her group in 1997 over a relationship gone bad with Jean, Hill began a solo career leading to the release of album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1998. This neo soul album remains her one and only solo studio album. This album debuted as number one on U.S. Billboard 200 and sold roughly eight million copies, including singles “Doo Wop (That Thing), “Ex-Factor”, and “Everything is Everything”. At the 41st Grammy Awards, Hill won five awards including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. That year she won several other awards and graced the cover of many magazines.
Lauryn Hill’s last full length recording was broadcasted on MTV Unplugged and sold approximately one million copies in the United States in 2002. Soon after, Hill dropped out of the public eye and subsequently released a few songs and sporadically made appearances and festival performances. Hill has six children, five of them with the son of Bob Marley, Rohan Marley. In 2012, she pleaded guilty to tax evasion and served a three-month prison sentence in 2013. Hill to some will go down in history as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Rolling Stone listed “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” as the 10th Greatest Album of All Time on their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list in 2020.
Lauryn Hill’s philanthropic efforts are primarily achieved through the use of her musical talent in which she uses proceeds from her ticket sales to raise money. The initiatives Ms. Hill supports include education, health, and local businesses. She strives to empower the community and highlights programs that support those that are descendants of the African diaspora. Specific groups listed are the MLH Foundation, Appetite for Change, Apps & Girls, The Refugee Project, and the Equal Justice Initiative all of which strive to help disenfranchised groups by way of educational opportunities. The Refugee Project, specifically founded by Hill, was a non-profit organization that seeks to assist with behavior treatments for at-risk youth. She also has been a supporter of clean water initiatives in Africa and voter registration drives.
In conclusion, Lauryn Hill is one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. Although she’s a controversial artist, She transformed the sound of hip hop and helped in the development of conscious rap. She one of the most impactful artist in the genre. Her music is still being sampled today by artist like Drake, Cardi B, and A$AP Rocky. Her legacy continues through that music. Although her she’s fallen back from the spotlight, you can hear her influence everywhere. With contemporaries like Aaliyah, Eve, and Erykah Badu, she has proven to be a household name and a talent to be reckoned with. Lauryn Hill is the most influential artist in hip hop and will forever be a voice in hip hop.
Listen to her full discography on SoundCloud:
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