The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is cemented as one of the best albums in music history, but despite its commercial success, there was never a follow-up to the classic project. Nearly 23 years since its release, Lauryn Hill is explaining the factors that led to her decision to drop only one album.
“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, EVER…EVER. Did I say ever? Ever!” Hill said while a guest on the “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums” podcast. “With The Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express.”
“After The Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations and saboteurs EVERYWHERE,” she continued. “People had included me in their own narratives of their successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
Though a sophomore effort never saw the light of day, Hill’s debut album was sonically ahead of its time. The singer also believes that she tackled topics, like systemic racism, before people were comfortable discussing those issues.
“All of my albums have probably addressed systemic racism, to some degree, before this was something this generation openly talked about. I was called crazy. Now, over a decade later, we hear this as part of the mainstream chorus,” the singer said. “Ok, so chalk some of it up to leadership and how that works—I was clearly ahead, but you also have to acknowledge the blatant denial that went down with that. The public abuse and ostracizing while suppressing and copying what I had done with still no real acknowledgement that all of that even happened is a lot.”
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill — which featured hit singles Doo Wop (That Thing)”, “Ex-Factor” and “Everything Is Everything” — was released in August of 1998 and went on to win five Grammys among many other awards. To this day, the album is played by longtime listeners as well as younger fans who have recently fallen in love with Hill’s music. The “Zion” artist credits the album’s reception and replay value to the blood, sweat and tears she poured into putting the project together.
“I’ve always been pretty critical of myself artistically, so of course there are things I hear that could have been done differently, but the LOVE in the album, the passion, it’s intention is …undeniable,” Hill explained. “I think my intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they’d sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently. At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so. … I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe The Miseducation did that, and I believe I still do this — defy convention when the convention is questionable.”