I know it’s fashionable to call Lauryn Hill crazy, say that she’s on drugs, both illegal and by prescription. I’m guilty of it. I dropped the off-center line the other day, which prompted the Lauryn Hill fan (tcphilosopher?) to post a link to a Lauryn Hill interview in the comments yesterday, asking for equal shine in the wake of Wyclef’s statements in the Scratch interview.
If you actually watch her interview, and really listen, there is no way you can continue to honestly believe Lauryn Hill is just out there.
The first three minutes there is an obvious feeling out dance thing going on, Lauryn not sure where the interviewer is coming from (friend or foe), not sure how much to say, or even what.. around 4:30 she begins to open up.
Lauryn Hill’s views about the tug and pull of commercial interests that uproot the soul of creativity, those views would be more easily understood if she would just hire a stylist.
In the picture above taken in 2006 (photo credit: Matthew K) she looks great and seems to be having fun. The Lauryn Hill we knew.
But this interview was after the show where she sported the trenchcoat. She was caught in all sorts of wacky shots.
You can’t blame photographers, even post show, the afro puff martian girl look is what throws everyone off.
Imagine if Mary J Blige took to wearing Madea-like housecoats on stage, singing about, “No more drama, here comes Mama.” Not only would she be laughed off stage, it would be, Mary’s sniffing coke again.. allegedly.
Was Lauryn Hill’s old look a part of the success that she didn’t want anymore?
“I can dress my damn self.”
Oh, no you can’t. Not all the time.
That Blackwell moment aside, Lauryn talked about almost everything except the new album, which judging from her reaction to the question is far from being completed.
A question about the legendary Rohan Marley also wasn’t in the interview. Only Wendy Williams would ask that, and it’s also why she would never get the interview in the first place.
These quotes are long, but of..
.. course you can just watch the interview for yourself.
You had fans waiting for so long for a new album since Miseducation, everybody’s been begging, ‘come on Lauryn just give us something.’ So are you ready now?
“There was a lot that took place after the first album. You’re young and you get an enormous amount of attention. A certain world dynamics and the politics of situtations. You just have to be very headstrong, very protected, because there’s often a lot of.. a lot that can force an individual to compromise. And for me to make music it doesn’t really make sense for me to make music if I can’t make something that doesn’t have a purpose.
So let’s say, I could have put out music 3 years ago, if there really wasn’t purpose attached to it I don’t know that I would have been interested.
I think the Fugees had the impact and the power that it did because we really believed in what we were doing at the time and we meant, if not everything, we knew there was something genuine and something purposeful about it, and the same thing for Miseducation.
For me making music is a labor of love and there also has to be an enormous amount of love in what I’m doing and a purpose.”
One of my sisters she had a hit back in the 80’s, Technotronic, had a hit “Pump Up the Jam” ..
.. She was 17 when that came out, that blew up and mentally it almost killed her.. How success affects people.. and the creation process.
“I don’t know if it’s the success itself, but how success affects people. I think that people react to money, power, fame, differently and it can be very dangerous. For me, because my peace of mind, my sancity, things that I did, they came from a very spiritual place so my environment had to be even more pure and sanctified then the average person.
Which when you’re in the Lion’s Den seems extreme, like ‘Why do you have to do things that way and you appear difficult, but they don’t neccesarily realize that your difficult, because A, what you do is difficult, and B, in order to produce something that’s really special it requires a very serious environment.
The same way scientists require a very clean laboratory and controlled environment in order to create what they do and the experiments that they do and produce the things that help society.
We know that open heart surgery you want to do that in the cleanest atmosphere possible. And when your dealing with people that make music and write songs that deal with the human condition, you’re really dealing with the human heart condition. And it’s important to do that in a clean and sanctified area.
A lot of the music we did tonight was Bob Marley. Bob Marley took what he did so seriously, for him it was a priesthood, for me it’s a priesthood. It’s not just, Let me just write this joint... I could do that! But for me to experience the high, it has to be something so connected, so much deeper than just necessarily doing it for profit.”
What do you think of the state of hip-hop?
“I see a lot of talent. A lot of potential. At the same time I see a lot of lost potential. I see a lot what can easily be exploitative. We can easily sort of trace black music back and watch the pattern. See how these black folks found this incredible music that comes from a place of expression and how it gets co-opted and compromised and bitten and appropriated and taken. My struggle has always been to prevent that from happening to sort of maintain the soul in everything that I can possibly do.
Compromise is a bitch, because once you get stuck it’s very, very difficult to untangle yourself. The reason why hip-hop had such a strong voice was because it was a defiant message for awhile. It was basically the voice of the voiceless.
Once you become the voice of the corporate you become a different creature.
The Fugee Reunion
“I don’t really know. I’m not gonna say never. I’m not gonna feed anything either.
I think the Fugees, first of all, I think that moment that we came together, the timing it was just a beautiful moment and we were able to do some really beautiful things. It was a special thing, a special time, also very necessary based on what was going on at the time.
As far as a reunion? .. I don’t have any answer.”
Keep us in suspense