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Lauryn Hill's Miseducation = My education/dreams coming true :)
I've been waiting to write about Lauryn Hill for awhile now. Lately every time I sit down and think about it I find it impossible to find the right words, how to start, and to really know how to express myself clearly. Especially with the controversy that's been swarming her, and the excessive scrutiny and judgement shes been getting over the past couple years. Which I personally find to be ridiculous. After getting to see her live (an experience I'll never forget) verifying everything I felt from her music was real. I am finally biting the bullet and saying my bit, or else I never will which would be a shame, considering the impact she's had on not only my life but many.
At a young age I got my hands on Lauryn's album Miseducation. Being too young and naive to truly understand it I still was affected by her passionate voice that alone gave her words meaning to me. Obviously growing up as a middle class white girl it's hard to imagine just how I could relate to her, and her music given that she is from a completely different background, race, and culture (as so much of the world is) - but I suppose that is what is so amazing about Lauryn and her music. That it speaks and spreads that culture showing us that even with our differences we all have similar struggles, even under different circumstances or situations. We can all appreciate something real and true. Which makes us able to relate to each other, respect each other, and understand each other. This is not something many artists can do although most unsuccessfully try.
It wasn't until I got a bit older, and like most was faced with more of life's complications, issues, tragedies, etc. that I was fully able to understand her words. Her music took on a more powerful meaning for me, opening my eyes up to the world and all the diversity within it but more importantly the unity within it which we all share as being human beings. Regardless of race or culture. The fact alone that I could appreciate her music, her stories, and experiences, shows a different side to the world with which a young woman can still relate. Presenting the world in a way that represents just how small it is and just how close we are. I was hooked on her honesty, in her voice and in her lyrics. Which then led to my love of hip hop and it's universal language of struggle, strife, and life. The realness, the realities, the passion and the soul in the music spoke to my heart and had me in love with music ever since.
Lauryn of course disappeared for awhile to do her own thing, which according to all different types of sources was for all different types of reasons. In other words it caused all types of bullshit, rumors, and nonsense to rise to the illegitimate surface. I was sad to see her step away but it's understandable when you give so much of yourself and are exhausted by the monster that can be the music business. I suppose some people and the public in general have a hard time letting humans beings be human beings for awhile, if ever.
Then her "Unplugged" performance for MTV came which was raw, passionate, and a response to all the negative publicity and nonsense that had flooded into her life. That performance was perhaps the realest expression of emotions I've ever experienced. After YouTubing the entire performance, I had felt every emotion she was having as if it were my own - as if she was speaking right to my soul. Her trials, tribulations, opinions, and conscious once again rung the truth, and dripped with reality. All that was needed was her voice and some simple guitar picking to deliver the meaningful message of each song. The natural passion that is her, her music, and her voice is a rare gift that stings like heart ache and soothes like a soul mate...at the same time. I had to see her live, which I did...
I saw her in Toronto in September and it was unreal. My dream came true before my own eyes, and more importantly my own ears. Her voice live rattled my spirit and squeezed my heart. It was a spin off show from Rock the Bells in New York. Nas opened for her and later came out to perform "If I ruled the world" which was epic (I did a project in art school about this tune). To see her music spill out of her the way it does, I couldn't help but cry, laugh, and smile for most of the show. She is demanding of her band, which at times seems intense, but purely comes from a place within that is so badly wanting to express everything she feels from her music to the audience. She wants everyone in the audience to feel what she does from her songs, to really give her all. Which is the consistent thread that makes Lauryn one of a kind.
Lauryn has been getting a lot of flack lately for disappointing fans at shows, as everyone wants to hear the Lauryn of the younger years, the one they are familiar with. Unfortunately you can't expect someone to grow in life and have different experiences and not grow musically and want to express themselves differently. The show was exactly that - her expressing the same ideas with the same songs but in a new way. It was just presented as who she is now in her life as a person and as an artist. Which of course is someone different and changed, but with the same passion, integrity, and soul. Regardless of when she made the music and how she performs it, it is still Lauryn. Her core remains the same, she is universally original and always will be. What a shame to demand and expect so much from an individual, and then abandon them. Then scrutinize them when they still seek to give you their all. That is a selfish way to treat any relationship.
Fortunately for us she plans on making new music which I am anxiously waiting for. New experiences, fresh music combined with her tenacious raw talent and emotional passion is a mixture of ingredients that is sure to fill my heart, speak to my now grown soul, and hopefully once again to the worlds.