Throwback Thursday — A Decade Since Miseducation

The Root just did an amazing trilogy of Lauryn Hill tributes to commemorate a decade since Miseducation dropped.

Rebecca Walker asks five questions (including the one everyone has been asking for almost a decade now, Are you coming back?), The Confessions of Lauryn Hill — lyrical analysis that revealed her true feelings about fame and the music industry long before she left it all behind, and An Analog Girl in a Digital World, a portrait of Erykah Badu as Lauryn’s successor. I can’t believe it’s been a decade since Miseducation dropped. If that makes me feel old, I can only imagine how it makes Lauryn feel. I wonder if that decade feels like a crushing weight, or if she finally feels free from the trappings of the industry.

All I know is, I miss her. As an admirer of what she meant to the music industry, as a natural haired black woman, as a fan of her undeniable and enduring songs. I hope she chooses to bless us with her presence again someday. Until then, we’ve got Miseducation. So few artists can say they produced music of such lasting quality. This isn’t even a real video, just audio of one of my favorite songs off that seminal album.

I mean, for real. It still gives me chills. Sometimes I listen to Lauryn Hill and my heart just aches, because I want so much more. As a fan it makes me feel a tinge of guilt, just like I did when I read that brilliant D’Angelo article in Spin. Guilty for being a simple fan who’s hungry for more music.

Miseducation and her remarkable, raw Unplugged album stay in regular rotation with me to this day, and I already can’t pick a favorite Lauryn Hill song, but damn if I don’t want more to choose from. Damn, if I don’t want another album or two, or three — if what Rohan Marley says is to believed, Lauryn’s got music oozing out of her pores but no indication of releasing any of it anytime soon. Damn.

I had a hard time choosing a Lauryn Hill clip here, and I found some rare live performance gems. If you’ve got time on your hands and nostalgia in your heart like I do, check these out.

An emotional Lauryn sings “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in London

Turn Your Lights Down Low at One Love: The Bob Marley All-Star Tribute.

And one of my favorites off her Unplugged album, I Find It Hard To Say.

We miss you, Lauryn. But you already know that.

Do you have a favorite Lauryn performance, bellas? Share with me in the comments, I’m soothing my soul with her music all day today.

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Comments

  1. justbecuz says:

    Beautiful Lauryn Hill interview w/ Shawna Renee. She performs to new acoustic songs in parts two and three. The interview is a must if you have any interest in understand Lauryn and were she is coming from.

    Part I
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOsP3tFDabI

    Part II
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxbHzi5DUoY

    Part III
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlhsTldseKk

    Enjoy!

  2. I liked her performance of “Adam Lives in Theory” on the NAACP Image Awards. That’s right before she went through this lil episode she doing through.

    But Miseducation is a classic.

  3. Some of these comments might get stuck in spam because of links. Don’t worry, I’ll be fishing them out as soon as I can!

  4. man, i don’t even know where to begin! lauryn has such a distinct voice… but i must say, when she was in sister act 2, and was doing that duet with that chick from the girl group “brownstone”, she brought me to tears. i get chills whenever i hear their duet of “his eye is on the sparrow”

  5. One of my fav songs by Lauryn is “Turn Your Lights Down Low’ with Bob Marley. There is something about that song that touches my heart, its sweet, to the point and her flow is flawless and I love me some Bob Marley as well. I’d love for her to return to the music scene though. Actually during the middle of July I seen Lauryn with her children at Barnes & Nobles off of Rt. 10 in Livingston here in Jersey, she’s a petite woman just buying her kids some books. She was looking regular and you can tell she didn’t want any attention but people like myself just kept looking. I pray that she’s in a studio right now writing lyrics and laying down some tracks.

  6. I LOVE Lauryn Hill!! I just got turned on to her MTV unplugged and it is the SHIT! I listen to it everyday. She is being so real and I think everybody can relate to her. I so hope she makes a major comeback so her real fans can show her some love!!

  7. Bella you are on to something about her fans clamoring for more. I’m just going to have to learn to appreciate that she blessed us when she did.
    Fave fave song of all time is Ex Factor

  8. I cry at the end of “Sister Act 2″…everytime. I also love “Nothing Even Matters”.

  9. kei, Lauryn’s duet on “His Eye is On the Sparrow”, in Sister Act 2, was with Tanya Blount, who was never in the group Brownstone.

  10. Davina E, says:

    Bella, this post is right on time…I have been listening to Miseducation for the past couple of days… If i had to choose a favorite song it would be a toss up between “Nothing Even Matters”, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, and “Ex-Factor. I hope and pray that one day Lauryn will grace us with more music.

  11. One of my favorite songs from that album was “Superstar.” But REALLY, can you pick just one? You can listen to every track without skipping (which to me defines a great album). What I love about Miseducation is that I can play it today, and it still sounds like it could’ve dropped last week. Not only that, it still outshines half the mess on the radio.

  12. Miseducation is special to me because I got the CD right around the time I had my daughter and was struggling on whether or not to stay with her father and her songs SPOKE to me. I saw the video for Ex-Factor last weekend and started crying uncontrollably because that is song is the exact way I feel about him. He was killed in a motorcycle accident in May, and it’s still hard for me to listen to that CD without thinking of him. That is a sign of good music: it will take you back to a certain place, a certain person, a certain feeling over and over and over again.

    Lauryn, come back, we miss you girl!!!

  13. Nikki, I’m so sorry for your loss… I wish you and your baby girl nothing but the best.

  14. To me.. was when she start singing.. in sister act 2… it was like wow.. couldn’t believe…. love her amazing grace too…

  15. i can still remember hearing zion when i was pregnant with my oldest son. one evening, i thought i was home alone and was singing at the top of my lungs. i was startled when i heard clapping on the other side of the bathroom door. i knew in the moment that my son’s name would begin with a “z”. lauryn started a musical movement when she released her album. there have been others who have tried the imitate Ms. Hill but none have come close. i miss her and my cd that was stolen along with my car.

  16. The Ex factor is a favourite of mine. I also like doo wop that thing … not sure of the proper title. I liked the fact that she acted singed and rapped. If she doesnt bring out more music would be nice to see her acting again

  17. My favorite song off the Miseducation album would have to be Zion…so much so that I want to have a son and name him Zion. I feel like Lauryn’s genius is truly…misunderstood. I saw her in concert at Wingate park last summer and felt confused. Where was the Lauryn whose CD I played non-stop the month I got it?

  18. I couldnt pick a favorite. I did play “ZION” endlessly while pregnant. Its even on her shower CD. My favorite performance was the Fugee reunion@ the BET Awards….

  19. I loooooove the Miseducation album! Its most definately one of the best albums OF ALL TIME. Its a classic album and a classic r&B/soul album. I remember those days when I’d sit and listen through it, I’d cry at certain points, smile and dance in other parts of the album.

    I applaud Lauryn for taking soul music to a new level and I pray that a woman with such incredible talent continues to make music for her fans who appreciate her incredible gift.

    R&B means rhythm and blues, these days artists claim to make r&b music when their songs may have rhtyhm but sure as hell don’t have any blues!!!!

  20. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    I am a huge fan of Miss Hill(I hope that if I call her that she will come back to us).”Nothing Even Matters” playing while I lose my chastity belt ooh! the memories.Every woman should have her own personal copy of Lauryn’s (I mean, Miss Hill)cd.

  21. With much pain in my heart I have to admit that I went to her concert last year in Amsterdam…and left before it ended.It was HORRIBLE and I couldnt believe that this was the same woman I fell in love with,her voice was awful,she switched all the songs up in an reggea-ish thing,imagine ex-factor but speeded like 20 times,I dunno just wrong.A lot of people left and asked their money back. I felt sorry for her but I couldnt stand there and watch one of my fav artist basically crumble in front of my eyes.Sad.

    Nevertheless,The Miseducation is one of the all time best albums,point blank. 10 years later the messages still are relevant,the productions sound as if they could have been made today,her voice,the lyrics..everything,just a modern day classic

    One of my fav performances of her is the To Zion performance at the grammy’s with Carlos Santana

  22. btw Bella do you know the song Miss Hill by Talib Kweli?

  23. flygyrl72 says:

    Bella, you are right on time! I swear! I just got thru reading the pieces on The Root…

    Speaking as a Boho Black gyrl, I still LOVE her! Now, I know she’s going thru it, but ultimately, I hope & pray for her sane return…

    She’s the girl that showed me that I was okay like I was (chocolate, nappy, artsy, tomboyish, etc.) That I didn’t have to be “typical” to be cute or pretty…it may sound corny, but I credit her w/ giving me a lot of the confidence that I needed to go natural w/ my hair, for whatever the reason, I had been putting it off, outta fear of how I would be perceived/received/regarded…or not…

    But seeing her not just represent, but represent correctly, made me commit to it, & I haven’t looked back yet…

    When I first saw her back in the day on Yo MTV Raps, doing “I Got The Vocab” live in the studio (also, my fave performance by her, dude, I SNAPPED when I first saw it, love at first sight…), I just got so excited, like I finally saw someone I could totally relate to… Cool ass chick, kinda tomboyish, smart but still sexy…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03ZPe5HlWJA&feature=related

    Also, another fave is “Ex-Factor” aka the story of my life, unfortunately…LOL…

    Yeah, she’s done some real suspect stuff in the last several years, so I do worry, I don’t want her to be like Nina Simone was, cause that chick was a tortured soul her whole life…

    Why is it that the most talented ones are oftentimes the ones who just are unable to find that balance?!!

    Big ups to L-Boogie, a true beautiful supafly original! You raised the bar, gyrlfriend, and no one has been able to do it better since…

    As for me, I’ll continue to keep my high hopes for her…

  24. Thank you SO SO SO much for linking to her performance of “First Time Ever”. It was beautiful, raw, and everything I needed right at this moment.

    My favorite Lauryn performance is “Water” from the UnPlugged show.
    She’s so talented and just.. real. I love everything about her.

    Despite what anyone says, she still brings it down and shows more true artistry on her bad days than most of these new artists bring at their best.

  25. That album is absolutely timeless. I still play it and it sounds just as groundbreaking and refreshing.

    I’m kind of glad that we’re missing her now. She and Dave Chappelle seem to have taken a similar path when it comes to the showbiz thing. I’m glad she got out when she did, because anymore could have driven her off the edge.

  26. I agree with Instant Vintage.

    I may not understand Lauryn’s journey; but I believe that the Universe knows best. Lauryn is such a gifted and talented human being; she’ll be back to touch us with her light when the universe deems it necessary.

  27. tracey in Ohio says:

    Love Lauren & sho nuff miss her for real! I agree w/the above; when it’s time, she’ll return. Thank for that clip of I Find it Hard to Say. Sounded so good, I watched it twice. :-D

  28. dettygirl says:

    Love Ms. Hill… Favorite Song is “X-Factor” & “Tell Him”.. I’m missing her just like I miss Maxwell… I would love to hear some new music from them…

  29. Bella, girl we are here !! *does the Matrin eye to eye motion*

    Just this past Saturday my sister and I had a little get together. At one point she put on Dave Chapelle’s Block Party. Everyone was silent when Lauren performed Killing Me Softly. Everyone on the dvd and everyone at my house lol. And just lat night I was listening to The Fugees The Score.

    IF i had to pick favorites they would be Ex Factor, I Used to Love Him, and Nothing Even Matters.

  30. So grateful that Lauryn was able to grace us with her talent (and hopefully she will share with us much more!) As for “Miseducation”, you haven’t been through anything in life if you can’t relate to every note of that album! 10 years ago, when I was in my early 20s, it was the soundtrack of my life. I related so much to Lauryn because we were the same age and she “got” exactly what me & my friends were going through.

    I remember viewing the “Unplugged” special and I was struck at the lyrical bravery of this woman–who at the time was pregnant (I beleive it was with child #2 or #3), appeared deeply distressed and had just learned to strum out a few basic chords on a guitar. I was touched, but it strangely felt like a “last appearance”–almost like Nirvana’s “Unplugged”, Kurt Cobain flanked by lillies and the audience quiet and reverent. “Water”, “Adam Lives In Theory” and the clip you posted are my favorites.

    I was dismayed when I went to my local beauty shop the next day and all people could talk about was about how Lauryn had “fallen off”.

  31. I loved her music. I miss her. We need more black women in the music industry like her. Chrisette Michelle, Leela James, and Janelle Monae are black women that make great music that are under represented.

  32. I know I miss her. I tell you to this day I still listen to Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I think the X factor got me through a rough break up.

  33. I hear you on Lauryn — i play the unplugged DVD all the time and my fav is “i find it hard to say” and “water” which is soon after. I also loved “destiny” from Miseducation(im not even sure what the same of it was… but It had a lot of piano and harps playing ..?) I did a praise dance to that song at my church for Black History month and many people were floored in a good way — that says a lot about her soul-stirring music.

    Keep dropping the info Afrobella! LOVING IT AS ALWAYS!

    Blessings,

    Lina

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