The 1998 debut solo album of songstress, actor and poet Lauryn Hill “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill”, was easily one of the best albums of the 1990s.
Hill hasn’t dropped a song in years, but the impact of her music and legacy remains and is passed down from generation to generation as a catalog of timeless musical offerings that bridge the disconnect between eras.
The album just reached diamond status, according to the Recording Industry of Association of America (RIAA) it reached 10,000,000 units sold since its 1998 release.
Reaching diamond status is an increasingly rare milestone as on-demand streaming has caused pure album sales to plummet.
Hill has now joined an exclusive group featuring artists who have earned diamond-certified records, including Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Adele’s 21, Brittney Spears …. Baby One More Time, Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP, and 2 Pac’s All Eyez On Me.
‘Miseducation’ makes Hill the 13th female act to own at least 1 Diamond album over her career.
Among women of color, Hill is only the third act to own at least 1 Diamond album following efforts from iconic Pop divas Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
Historic Grammy Night
Hill earned a record 10 nominations and walked away with 5 Grammys’ at the 41st Grammy Awards. The 5 wins are still the most ever by a female artist in one night.
Album Of The Year, Best R&B Album, and Best R&B Vocal Performance for “Doo Wop (That Thing)” are among the Grammys won by Hill on that historic night.
The inspiration for the album title was from the film The Education Of Sonny Carson and the novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro “ by Carter G. Woodson.
Classic Album, Timeless Music
The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was both a critical and commercial success, debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart with more than 422,000 sales in the first week.
The album is a unique combination of R&B, soul, reggae, and hip-hop. The creative Hill really showed her versatility with this project and it has stood the test of time, still selling like hotcakes and being revered 20 years plus later.
The album’s inspiration is spurned from a serious relationship and consequent pregnancy Hill had with “Rohan Marley.” Marley is a former football player and the son of Jamaican reggae superstar “Bob Marley.” The single titled “To Zion”, is one of the songs on the album written about her love for her child and the confidence in her decision to have him, amidst many advising her not to.
In 2015, The Library Of Congress included The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill in the National Registry, due to its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance. The album has been regarded as one of the best of all-time.
Though many believed the effort marked the beginning of a prolific solo career, Hill never released a follow-up album. Hill says the success of that album made it hard for her to ever record a sophomore project.
The game changed, she was battling emotional demons and the strain of relationships and betrayals by people close to her, and her ability to explore, express, and experiment became obstructed. That coupled with unrealistic expectations amongst other hindrances became too much for Hill to digest and therefore fans were never blessed with that second possible masterpiece.
Over the next two decades, she made appearances here and there, but she was never fully invested in her music career again. It was almost like a mic drop.
I was in my second year of college and can remember listening to it daily and always saying to myself she won’t be able to top this here.
We all knew she was Uber talented from her role on “Sister Act” and then her time with “The Fugees.” She blessed us with one of the greatest solo projects the music world has ever witnessed and to this day it still resonates as if she had more in her catalog.
That just goes to show she accomplished what she set out to in one take and I’m glad she did.