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'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill': For The Record
The 41st GRAMMY Awards played host to a number of historic musical moments. Aside from being a massive evening for female creators across the board – with Madonna, Alanis Morissette, Dixie Chicks, Celine Dion, and Sheryl Crowe all taking home one or more awards – the evening also saw a compelling performance by Ricky Martin that ignited a Latin Pop explosion in the coming year, as well as a series of landmark wins by Lauryn Hill including the first time in GRAMMY history that the coveted Album Of The Year honors went to a hip-hop artist.
Hill's hugely acclaimed solo debut album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill – which to this day remains her only career solo release – was a force to be reckoned with.
Debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, the album broke the standing record for first-week sales by a female artist, selling close to 423,000 copies in its first seven days. The album chronicles Hill's reflections on a disintegrating relationship, having emerged stronger and wiser on the other side of a period of personal darkness.
Presenting a uniquely strong female perspective on life, love and relationships that was (and still is) noticeably absent in contemporary pop music, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill was packed with lyrically deep songs that managed to be inescapably catchy and poignant at the same time. All three singles serviced to radio – "Doo Wop (That Thing)," "Ex-Factor," and "Everything Is Everything" – charted Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, with "Doo Wop" eventually claiming the chart's top spot. "Everything Is Everything" is also notable for standing as the first recorded appearance by a young John Legend in commercial music. Legend, credited under his birth name of John Stephens, played backing piano on the track.
The album earned a total of 10 nominations at the 41st GRAMMY Awards, and Hill took the stage during the evening's festivities for a rousing performance of "To Zion," with the notable accompaniment of Carlos Santana, with whom she would share in an Album Of The Year Win at the 42nd GRAMMYs for the legendary guitarist's globally successful Clive Davis-produced smash hit album Supernatural.
Altogether, Hill took home five GRAMMY Awards for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, including Album Of The Year, Best R&B Album, Best New Artist, Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance – the latter two both for "Doo Wop (That Thing)."
With her previous wins for Best Rap Album (The Score) and Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal ("Killing Me Softly With His Song") as a member of the hip-hop/soul supergroup Fugees, Hill's wins at the 41st GRAMMYs brought her total career wins to seven (rising to eight total the following year, thanks to her shared win for Supernatural). Hill also remains one of just five female artists who can count two or more Album Of The Year wins among their career honors.