When The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill dropped, most had no knowledge of the love affair conundrum that went wrong between Lauryn and her Refugee partner Wyclef Jean. One thing people did know was there was a lack of Jean’s involvement in her new project. In the most genius way, Lauryn addressed the situation and spit some fire barz (diss) about her former band mate. Hill says that money and hunger for fame was Jean’s problem and the reason why the split. But other sources say the Jean was married to another woman. Things were never the same, and years later we still haven’t seen another Fugees album.
In the track “Lost Ones” starts the album off in a raw street type way that people might not have expected from an artist known for her soulful vocals. The song turns into somewhat of a brutally honest message to whom many people think, myself included, Wyclef Jean. In this song, she is saying that money and miscommunication messed up a relationship. She wanted to do things differently while in the music business but it seems like what she wanted did not matter Jean. She felt threatened and refused to be treated any type of way and as a result.
Basically this message is you think you won but after people listen this track, you realize you “Lost” that which you once had but could never own. Ex-Factor “The Ex Factor,” which was inspired by Lauryn’s troubled relationship with Wyclef, was about an emotionally abusive relationship that the singer is desperately trying to get out of. I would consider this track to be beautiful imagery. The metaphor describing love as a battle is very true. When you go to battle, you’re going to try and conquer the other side with machinery, bombs and whatever else you need to beat your opponent.
But once the battle starts, both sides attack each other whether you kill or injure. It’s the same with love. You wouldn’t kill your partner, but verbal abuse, not showing enough affection or cheating (as I said before Wyclef was also married) creates its own form of death. At the end of the day, both people in the relationship are hurting, dying slowly from the responsibility and outcome of the hurt they each caused. This Song is exactly what Hill is feeling and tells the listener her side of the problem with the one she love at one time.
To Zion In my opinion, To Zion was on of the most heartfelt song on the album. 996, Lauryn Hill met Rohan Marley, who is the son of the great legend Bob Marley. Despite the fact that Hill was in a relationship with Wyclef Jean, she was always attracted to Rohan (who, fun fact, was shockingly playing football for the University of Miami). The two began dating and as a result of the relationship, Lauryn became pregnant. Lauryn’s career was just taking off the Fugees were hot and she was globally recognized as a member of this socially influential global act. Many people urged her to get an abortion. She ignored the pressure by her peers and continued with the pregnancy.
On August 1997, Zion David, was born. The pregnancy was actually helpful, in that it helped Lauryn to overcome a period of writer’s block. Lauryn wrote the song “To Zion” to tell a story about a nerve-racking time in her life, and about her decision to reject abortion and give birth to her son. It was a time of self-realization and self reliance, I time where she learned to ignore her “miseducation” and look inward to do what was right for her. Her passionate Caribbean rhythms tell the story of a deep love and joy. That joy is what she found as a young mother, and the love she felt for her son Zion. Doo Wop (that Thing)
The song is a warning against guys who are more interested in frivolous, expensive things than their girlfriends or families. Again here Hill debunks the trappings of the miseducated that have found success only to perpetuate stereotypes of possessing things that have worth but no value. Also, this song was her rap-soul call-out to the girls, promoting self-respect and personal ethics in the face of objectification and abuse. Hill had some difficult relationships that may have inspired this. (*cough cough* Wyclef) She told ‘Playboy Magazine’ “For some reason, women aren’t taken seriously as thinkers and creators and arrangers and producer… he industry thinks there always has to be some man somewhere “puppetering” the whole situation.
It doesn’t make you feel good as an artist when you are having conversations about your music and people don’t take it seriously. ” Hill wanted to prove that a female artist could use her brains to have a chart-topper rather than her body, unlike other contemporary performers like Lil’ Kim who was making a name for herself using other assets. This song helped Hill become the first woman since Debbie Gibson to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a song she wrote, recorded, and produced on her own.
Also, this song won her a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song also won the Grammy for Best R&B Song. Final Hour In the Final Hour, Hill rapped about how “You can get the money….. you can get the power. ” It seems as if she wanted people to know, if that’s all you think about, then your soul is tainted. “Workin’ hard, workin’ hard,” she repeated over and over at breakneck speed. This song seems to be a way for Hill to clear her mind and say what she was feeling.
“Clean hands,” she spit, “clean heart,” over and over again, Hill brought out the best of her artistry and showed her lyrical mastery. Final Hour” was straight fascinating in a way that could only be described as lyrical genius. She made it a point not to curse at all on Miseducation, out of respect for the new life growing inside of her. It’s seemed to be hard to talk with a certain passion without using any cuss words from her past, but Hill did it with such grace. It was a graceful warning shot to anyone who might have suspected she had fallen off. Forgive them father Hills ‘Forgive me Father’ is the perfect example on how Hill fuses different genres together to make a new sound.
This song has elements of hip-hop, soul, reggae, and a small portion of gospel. Even though this song has all of these elements; the song seems to be more focus on the Reggae/Dancehall theme. As a matter of fact, the song samples Bob Marley’s ‘Concrete Jungle’. Julian Marley, another of Bob Marley’s son, plays guitar on this track. Also, Jamaican dancehall artist, Shelley Thunder makes a guest appearance. The most important commodity about this song is the message it is sending.
This song has a more biblical message when singing the chorus “ Forgive them father for they know not what they do. This actually comes from a quote in the bible that is also Jesus’s last words. Luke 23:34, “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. ” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. ” This Song is full of Biblical quotes for example the first line by Shelley Thunder was “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us” That verse was straight from Matthew 6:12-15 of the bible. In this song Hill talks about fake people who will turn on you to advance their own cause, and how Karma will catch up with them.
She asks God to forgive them because they didn’t what they did hurt her in ways people can’t imagine. This song only makes sense and sems to referencing the splitting of the Fugees and how that hurt her, especially her relationship with Wyclef Jean. It could also be about so called fans hating her when she decided to go solo because nobody knew her side on why the Fugees split. Inference Lauryn Hill’s ‘Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ is an album to represent Hill’s heartfelt emotions using the stanzas of her poetry to relieve stress of her then “current” situation.
Miseducation established that Lauryn Hill the brand and the artist as one of the best rappers of the 90s. For a effort album, written and Produced by the first time producer Hill, you can definitely feel the heart, emotion and relevance she put in this album. However, Hill could not have predicted that this album would have been so wildly successful both critically and artistically, this was not expected from an album that was created from the heart but had such far reaching impact socially, musically and culturally.
Hills album is considered one of the greatest hip-hop album of all time and according to Rolling Stones in 2003, it placed at No. 312 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and in 2013, Entertainment Weekly named it 28th greatest album of all time. In my Opinion, this album is relatable to any person no matter what song you choose on the album. Hill’s use of lyrics and harmonies created an Iconic sound and although others have tried, this classic album has not been duplicated. The tracks introduced the young independent, single and strong Black woman as a marketable and relatable.
As I previously states Hill promotes love in this album in both the traditional self and also in an ontological manner which makes the listener question how and why they exist in their current space and what it all means. A nice touch was the injection of the thoughts of the children being interviewed and giving insight on their feelings of love. The interviews conjure up the innocence of love at its inception irrespective of the path it takes but ultimately we make it more complicated than the child’s eye sees.
Hill’s homage to love and self-understanding in The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill thoughtfully produces musical and lyrical thesis on the depth of LOVE, its feeling, meaning and how/who it inspires artistically, politically, sexually, sensually and of course culturally. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill reminds us of Woodson’s The Miseducation of the Negro, and reminds us that women will not allow themselves to simply be indoctrinated without the benefit of learning and a proper education as this Miseducation would only causes women to be dependent, underpowered, and weak without the ability to love and more importantly love themselves.