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An Open Letter to Lauryn Hill

Regarding the rise and fall of Ms. Lauryn.

Robert Frezza

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Dear Lauryn Hill,

Or Ms. Lauryn Hill, as you are now referred to. What happened to you? You had the world at your fingertips and you kind of blew it.

You first emerged onto the scene with the Fugees and I loved you then: your amazing rap flow, and lyrics that could blow any female emcee out the water. Many emulated your rap and fashion style.

The songs “Fu-Gee-La” and the massive cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” took over the world and made the Fugees one of the most successful rap groups on the planet.

Then came the massive critical success of your debut Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which sold 20 million copies worldwide. Critics called it one of the best albums of the 90s.

Maybe the public placed a bit too much pressure on you after that album won you five Grammys in 1999, including Album of the Year.

After that, you just up and disappeared from the public eye.

You released Unplugged No. 2.0 in 2002, which left the public puzzled, as it seemed like a cry for help. You reemerged to do a string of shows in NYC with the arrangements of your original songs off Miseducation unrecognizable. Your on stage wardrobe choices were unflattering and quite frankly scared me.

What happened to the Lauryn Hill we once knew and loved? I know you mentioned in the press following the commercial and critical success of Miseducation that you needed a break and that you had a distaste for the music business, but you had it all.

You fell victim to an identity crisis, not knowing who you were at the time of all of your massive success–from the Fugees to your massive solo career. It felt to me like it all spun out of your control. Now it seems like you are a bad joke.

I think it’s never too late for a comeback story.

I would love you to do a soundtrack to a movie and slowly wiggle your way back onto the music scene. Pace yourself and accept what you have accomplished and move on from there. There is no such thing as a one hit wonder album.

You can do it again. Just don’t force it and let things happen naturally. Let go of your public persona and let the rhymes and music organically flow again.

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Robert Frezza is a music journalist based out of NYC. He has interviewed Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon, Garbage, Nine Inch Nails, among many more. He enjoys interviewing musicians.

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