Today in Hip Hop History: August 25, 1998
The Fugees only female member, Lauryn Hill, released her classic debut solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill through Ruffhouse Records and Columbia Records in 1998. Lauryn Hill cites her romantic relationship with Rohan Marley, her pregnancy with their child, and other various circumstances as inspiration for making the album. Recording of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill took place in Kingston, Jamaica from late 1997 to mid 1998. The album’s title was inspired by Carter G. Woodson’s 1933 book, The Mis-Education of the Negro.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was primarily a neo-soul album, although it contained traces of R&B, hip hop, soul and reggae. The album was produced by Lauryn herself in addition to production by Vada Nobles and Che’ Guevara (not the Argentine Marxist revolutionary). It featured performances from Carlos Santana, Mary J. Blige, and D’Angelo.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill speaks on motherhood, the Fugees, love, heartbreak, God and reminiscence, among other subject matter. Lauryn claims to have taken significant inspiration from the Bible in her lyricism and thought throughout the album. Additionally, she speaks on love and the effect of her previous relationship on her views; the in-between skits display a New Jersey teacher discussing the meaning of love with her young students in the class. Among everything else, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill combined a sense of freedom, knowledge, inspiration and emotional baggage into one package for the listener.
The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 81 weeks. It broke the record for first-week sales by a female artist. In less than a month, the album had sold one million copies. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has sold over 18 million copies worldwide, with over 8 million of those being in the U.S. alone. It also received phenomenal critical reviews, and still does to this day. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is often credited as one of the best albums of all time, and certainly one of the best female albums to exist.
Lauryn Hill was nominated ten times at the Grammy Awards in 1999, making her the first woman to ever be nominated for a Grammy Award ten times in one year. She won five of those ten nominations, including Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Song, and Album of the Year, making The Miseducation the first hip hop oriented album to ever receive that award. She also became the first woman to win five Grammy’s in one night, setting music industry history.
Check out our review of it here.