The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill

Ruffhouse / Columbia Records, 1998



I feel almost uncomfortable reviewing The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill because I seem to be the only person who doesn't "get" it; from TIME magazine to my friends on the hip-hop mailing list I run, everyone is tripping over Lauryn Hill's new solo album. Whether it's the appeal of her genuine independence, her unusually strong lyricism or the obvious beauty of her voice, she's managed to top album charts and prompt the usual tired ass "New Queen of Hip-Hop" terminology we critics seem to adore.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Any artist who can rap as good as she can sing is worth attention in urban music (does anyone else find guest rappers doing their ten second thing in bridges of songs annoying?). Just a hint of reggae blended with intellect and honesty, plus vocal texturing from the '70s (Motown for the '90s) makes for straightforward, no-posturing records. Every R&B and hip-hop artist should be forced to listened to "Superstar" ("Come on baby light my fire / Everything you drop is so tired / Music is supposed to inspire"). In fact, the entire album is not an example of the best of urban music; it's a study on what the genre SHOULD be.

Soulful harmonies in "Doo Wop (That Thing)" , "When It Hurts So Bad" and concious rap lyrics in "Final Hour" , "Lost Ones" are quality quality quality. Production is sparse but textured, and it doesn't distract from Hill's messages. But the classroom interludes in between are irritating and there are maybe one or two tracks that tend to be tedious such as the duet with D'Angelo, "Nothing Even Matters".

Consistent, honest, and well-performed. If you rave over Missy Elliot but Mary J. Blige leaves you cold, it'll take time to grow on you. If Share My World gets a lot of airplay on your CD player, chances are you'll find more in the album than I did.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


I still listen to this CD in 2010. What a waisted talent, she really fell off after this stellar album. I agree with the reviewer about the classroom interludes. I first bought it on a cassette, I couldn't skip through those parts and it's really irratating. On "nothing really matters I think those are the only lyrics to the song

© 1998 JB and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ruffhouse / Columbia Records, and is used for informational purposes only.