Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Women’s artist spotlight: The legacy of Lauryn Hill

Just a month ago, the incredible Ms. Lauryn Hill became the first female rapper in music’s history to have a diamond-certified album,“The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

What makes this even more monumental is the fact that this is the only solo album she has ever released, and it has been out for 22 years. This just goes to show how great the album is, and its longevity and timelessness are why many consider it one of the best hip-hop/R&B albums of all time. 

Upon its release in 1998, it was an instant hit. It sold almost 425,000 copies in its first week alone. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts, and the hit song, “Doo Wop (That Thing),” became the No. 1 song in the country. 

Hill went on to win five Grammys for the album. With those five solo wins, she became the first female artist to ever win five or more awards at the Grammys. Making even more history, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” also became the first hip-hop album to win the album of the year award. 

Critics raved at the album’s combination of hip-hop, neo-soul, reggae and pop. 

Hill began her career in the three-member group the Fugees, alongside Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel. The first album the group released, “Blunted on Reality,” was in 1994. It debuted at 62 on the hip-hop/R&B charts and the album’s sales weren’t great. Their second album “The Score,” however, earned her first two Grammys in 1996 after peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 charts. 

It was on this album where Hill really shined as an artist and propelled herself even further to stardom. Her lyrical ability in her raps, as well as her impeccable, beautiful vocals, were on full display throughout, especially on the famous tracks “Fu-Gee-La” and “Ready or Not.”

A year later, the Fugees split as the members went on their separate ways to solo careers, thus propelling Hill to start recording “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” 

Aside from her lyrical ability on a mic, she has also credited with writing and producing songs for many artists, including Whitney Houston, Carlos Santana, Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige. 

Her impact on music off of only one album is something critics still marvel over to this day. Critics deemed her as one of the greatest female hip-hop artists of all-time, as well as one of the greatest female artists to ever live in general. 

Big celebrity artists such as Adele, Beyonce, Kanye West, Rihanna, Erykah Badu and many more have all credited Hill as one of their main sources of inspiration. 

There is no denying her impact on music and hip-hop, and we should all be thankful she blessed the world with her amazing art and work. 

bschnv@mail.umkc.edu

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