Ms. Lauryn Hill doesn’t make much time for interviews these days. However, the Grammy-winning artist did take a moment to get candid with Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums podcast via email.
In her rare interview, Hill spoke about the legacy and cultural impact of her groundbreaking debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
“I’ve always been pretty critical of myself artistically, so of course there are things I hear that could have been done differently but the LOVE in the album, the passion, it’s intention is to me, undeniable,” Hill said about the 1998 LP. “I think my intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they’d sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently. At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so. … I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe the Miseducation did that and I believe I still do this—defy convention when the convention is questionable.”
It’s hard to believe that Hill hasn’t released another album in over two decades. She opened up about why she hasn’t recorded another project since then.
“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, EVER…EVER. Did I say ever? Ever! … With the Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express,” Hill said. “After the Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs EVERYWHERE. People had included me in their own narratives of THEIR successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill earned Hill four wins at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, Best R&B Album, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and Best R&B Song for the same previously mentioned track. Hill also was awarded Best New Artist the same night.
Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums podcast is available exclusively through Amazon. Listen here.