It Was 20 Years Ago Today…August 1998

Lauryn Hill:  The Miseducation of Layrn Hill

After her career with the Fugees, which featured two full lengths, most notably The Score, Lauryn Hill struck out on her own for a R&B/Hip Hop/Soul venture that would spawn three singles and earn her 5 Grammy nods.

The album paints a picture of Hill’s struggles within the Fugees, with the fame that came from her success in that outfit, and from other life experiences.  Her efforts also led her to write the Aretha Franklin single “A rose is still a rose”.

The most famous of the three singles was titled “Doo Wop (That Thing)”.  The song became the first debut single to top the Billboard R&B charts.  The song speaks to the struggles of those living in the inner city, those emigrating from other cultures to the United States, and drew praise for giving advice in equal measure to men and women.  The video drew parallels betwen 1967 and 1997.  It also earned her two of those 5 Grammys.

The other big single from the album was “Everything is Everything”, a song also about inner city struggles.  In later years, the song would gain notoriety for being the first commercial single featuring John Legend, who played piano on the track.  The video compares New York City to a record, going around ad infinitum, but never really doing anything new.

The least successful of her three singles was “Ex-Factor”, which drew speculation that the titular Ex was former Fugees member Wyclef Jean.  It has more of a soul groove than the other tracks, but still saw moderate success.

A hidden track on the album was her cover of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, originally by Franki Valli.  His song was released 30 years prior to The Miseducation Of…, the song has become a classic and an example of crossover appearl between the R&B and Rock genres.

Twenty ears later, and Lauryn Hill has not issued an official follow up.  She did an MTV Unplugged session in 2001, released as an album the following year.  In 2013, on the eve of her release from prison for tax evasion, she released the track “Consumerism”, a rapid-fire screed against arbitrary boundaries.  In 2014, she released “Black Rage” which sought to show the history that lead up to the protests in Ferguson, MO and the #blacklivesmatter movement.  She also covered several Nina Simone songs for a 2015 documentary, performing several songs when Ms. Simone was inducted into the Rock Hall in 2018.

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Aretha Franklin: 1946-2018

I may not profess to be a huge fan of her oeuvre, but I can admire her body of work.  She passed after a long battle with pancreatic cancer (fuck cancer, y’all).  I’m just gonna admit it, this one hurts.

There’s a reason she earned the moniker The Queen of Soul, as evidenced by the below video.

She was more than an amazing, singular voice:

And the classic of all time:

Rest in peace, and long live the queen.

“I just want to scream/HELLOOOO”

So, after years of the occasional posting at work, my site was blocked by IT because they classified it as something different than, say Facebook…

I fought back and won.  Now, it feels so good to be back!

Anyway, here’s a snipped from night 1 of pearl jam’s 2 night stand at Safeco Field, raising money for homelessness.