Twenty-two years ago, the album " The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", by none other than Ms. Lauryn Hill, was released as one of the most significant hip-hop albums of its time. Her first solo album won five Grammy Awards, including album of the year, and has sold over 19 million copies. Her album continues to be relevant to this day with her skillful writing sharing deep messages on love lost, family and self, bringing listeners into this journey of her experiences and feels that they can relate to through her music.
The album is an affirmation on independence, as a woman in the hip-hop game, it is an important element that the industry overlooks or has control over, leading to the “miseducation” of the female artist. The importance of her album is to "re-educate" oneself on the importance of true self. Many fans adored her because of the “authenticity” she produced in her music.
“She talked about her family, about women respecting themselves and being honest about feelings. She was real,” said DJ and HITS Radio presenter Sarah-Jane Crawford.
Embedding herself in a male-dominated industry changed the politics of hip-hop music, by implementing feminist perspectives in the hip-hop culture. Women and young girls who listened to her saw her as a revelation of introducing "womanhood" in the hip-hop industry.
For example, her song "To Zion" is dedicated to her son Zion, whom she was pregnant with during the making of her album. She revealed that she was not encouraged to have a child while establishing her music career.
"I knew his life deserved a chance
But everybody told me to be smart
Look at your career they said”
Lyrics from “To Zion”
© JenNILoVeSmUsic | Youtube
Listeners saw her as an inspiration for keeping true to herself and overcoming the criticism she received as a woman. They looked at her album as an homage to female empowerment. Kanya King, the founder of the MOBO Awardssaid: "Miseducation lifted boundaries for female artists...Her debut album busted through the industry's glass ceiling.” Hill expanded hip-hop music by opening the stage for more female hip-hop artists, and speaking on the importance of womanhood and feminism.
© Ms. Lauryn Hill | YouTube
Her album became a discourse on female empowerment, influencing the next generation of musical stars. Artists still connect with the album to reflect the same messages and experiences she shared in her songs. To this day, they often sampled her music, such as Drake’s song “Nice For What” and Cardi B’s “Be Careful” sampling from “Ex-factor”, both songs acknowledge female empowerment and female presence in relationships. Utilizing her songs displays how much of an icon she still is today.
© Ms. Lauryn Hill | Youtube
Hill’s album is very much relevant today as she inspired many artists and changed modern music as we know it today. As big as her album was, she continues to rise with her music by still performing her top hits at concerts for her old school fans to her new ones. Her album will continue to be important and successful for the next generation to come.