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1.20 The Cooler

The Side Of Lauryn Hill We Never Saw

By J. Tinsley / 01.19.11

I have a hard time being so hard on the music world, especially Hip Hop because we come out of the hood at 17 years old having no clue or concept of what life really is.

Think back to high school and to the one person who commanded such effortless attention from yourself. In retrospect, it’s probably embarrassing. You admired the way they presented themselves, the actions they embarked upon and the goals you mapped out for them on your own selfish canvas. Then, like clockwork, experiences and the universe took the two of you through separate walks of life. The only wish you held close was that when your paths intersected again, the image crafted during your teenage years would carry over to adulthood. But they hardly ever do. The story never plays out like that and the stinging feeling of untapped potential when sweet fantasies present themselves as sobering realities always arises.

In a sense, I would assume that describes Lauryn Hill. The Ms. Hill we know now is not the same young, vivacious emcee we embraced and made an extended family member in the ’90s. We should have seen that coming though. Blame lies just as much on our plate as it does on hers. Time changes. People change. And life happens, so who are we really to expect a woman who Scored and Miseducated us on her life – the good, the bad and ugly – in 1996 and 1998 to not grow? Albeit grow away from music and connection with society.

Still, memories, unlike people, places and relationships, live forever. The other day I came across this speech from Lauryn which very few knew existed aside from the people who sat in awe just feet away from her. The year was 2000 and at the time L-Boogie was in the height of her career with million of records sold, multiple Grammys and a bevy of other accomplishments. Through it all, however, she was humble. She was open. She was all the hype people bestowed upon her. She was revealing The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill all over again; only this time music was not involved.


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