Did your head spin this week because mine did! You all know I have no industry connections and I like to keep it that way so I can write objectively from the perspective of a “fan.” So when I heard Robert Glasper on the radio talking about the classic album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, my jaw dropped. I had never thought about who wrote the music granted she sang and rapped on the project but I can see someone writing the R&B portions of various tracks. We won’t get into whether or not she wrote her rhymes at least not today anyway. A lot of Rappers misrepresent themselves in their lyrics. Finding out that she took the credit for the work of others, treated them like peasants, and barely paid them their worth is more than disheartening. This egotistical mind frame is as if she was trying to be a Rap super villain or something.
I knew the narrative about Ms. Hill and her performances or lack thereof had to revolve around money but this is egregious. Coming up in the Rap industry and selling eighteen million albums worldwide as a member of the iconic Hip Hop group, The Fugees, I thought you would have learned something about the business once you went solo. Major artists not having their business right isn’t a new phenomenon. Dolly Parton wrote Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” so Dolly will always get her credit both contractually and financially while Whitney doesn’t clean up as much. (No pun intended) You see Beyoncé gives credit where credit is due, it’s called humility people. Being humble can get you further than you’d ever imagine even if there is no business on paper. If you are nice, pleasant, sweet, empathetic, understanding and possess all those great character traits someone will reciprocate that. Now, don’t be a fool and do business based off of how you perceive others because we know there are fakes and phonies in the industry.
But you can’t demean, degrade, or disrespect people because that’s how you get work in this industry…relationships. People may not remember what you’ve said to them but they remember how you made them feel. Maybe just maybe if Lauryn humbles herself the owners, writers, musicians, and other contributors on the project will allow her to perform the album as it should be performed. Possibly go on tour with the musicians, pay them what they’re worth, and perform the album with the respect that it deserves. Lauryn has to make this right and even if they don’t immediately accept an apology from Ms. Hill maybe they’ll come around in a few years and we can get the tour for the 25th anniversary in 2023. Misrepresenting yourself is an issue in Hip Hop/Rap music but it seems to be more of an issue for the women than it is for the men. If Lauryn can come with some new music she’d have other material to perform. I’m just not sure if the Rap business is avoiding her or if she’s avoiding the Rap business.
“And by making other people feel small. Makes you think you’re unable to fall.” – Lauryn Hill (Superstar)