Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images
Ms. Lauryn Hill performs at Glastonbury Festival 2019
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Festival 2020: Ms. Lauryn Hill, Alice Smith, Victory Boyd & More Announced
The multi-day gathering, taking place during International Women's Day weekend this March, will feature multiple live events and speaker series
BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Festival (BGR!FEST), the multi-day live event and speaker series that celebrates black women artists, thought leaders and creatives, has announced the lineup and event schedule for its 2020 edition. The four-day event, taking place March 5-8 during International Women's Day weekend across the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts campus in Washington, D.C., has confirmed headliner Ms. Lauryn Hill, Alice Smith, Victory Boyd and many other artists and speakers for its second annual installment.
BGR!FEST 2020 will feature multiple music-centric events across the weekend. The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Concert Series, a two-day event (March 6-7) will feature eight-time GRAMMY winner Ms. Lauryn Hill and opener Alice Smith. The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Unplugged Secret Shows, a series of intimate late-night concerts featuring surprise guests and performers, will take place nightly, except for Sunday. The BLACK GIRLS ROCK! WHO ROCKS NEXT shows, which spotlight emerging talents, will host soul-folk artist Victory Boyd on Friday and West Coast rapper ill Camille on Saturday. The weekend ends with the event's official closing day party and jam session, held on International Women's Day (Sunday, March 8), featuring BLACK GIRLS ROCK! CEO and celebrity DJ Beverly Bond and friends.
Beyond the music, BGR!FEST 2020 will present a free multi-part speaker series and panel presentation that will discuss entrepreneurship and business leadership; protection and advocacy for black women in the #MeToo era; and the importance of representation in Hollywood and media. The festival is also hosting the BLACK GIRLS LEAD Empowerment Circle, a private event featuring discussions with artist/activist Maimouna Youssef, aka Mumu Fresh, and Victory Boyd.
BGR!FEST is an extension of BLACK GIRLS ROCK!, a multifaceted brand that focuses on the empowerment of women and girls of color. Last year, the BLACK GIRLS ROCK Awards, an annual award show broadcasted on BET, featured performances from Erykah Badu, Common, India.Arie, Ari Lennox and many others.
For information on tickets, full lineup and event schedule for BGR!FEST 2020, visit the festival's official website.
Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Why 1998 Was Hip-Hop's Most Mature Year: From The Rise Of The Underground To Artist Masterworks
From the release of 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' and 'Aquemini,' to the proliferation of underground rap and the rise of regionalism, 1998 was hip-hop's sweet spot.
2023 has seen countless tributes to hip-hop, celebrating both its golden anniversary and the staying power of a genre that was vilified, underestimated, and branded a passing fad for decades. Nonetheless, while 50 is a major milestone, many believe hip-hop reached its peak decades ago.
At the tail end of the golden age of hip-hop, the genre reached a new level of maturity. Twenty-five years ago, hip-hop music demonstrated a wide variety of production styles and a diversity of perspectives. Further proving that 1998 was a high watermark for hip-hop, several important and stylistically distinct albums by Jay-Z, Black Star, A Tribe Called Quest and Outkast were even released on the same day.
This diversity of expression resulted in multiple commercially successful, distinct subgenres and niche audiences. The culture moved beyond the bi-coastal hostility that had culminated in the tragic murders of Tupac and Biggie, and the South asserted itself in a big way. The year’s versatility was demonstrated through the emergence of an underground scene that was critical of mainstream hip-hop’s consumerist mentality, but nonetheless thrived alongside commercially successful albums by both new and established artists.
Southern Hip-Hop Earns Respect
By 1998 groups beyond the East and West Coasts had started to gain national visibility — a hallmark of hip-hop's growing maturity.
While Outkast's Andre 3000 famously declared that "The South got somethin’ to say" in1995, the group didn't earn widespread respect and recognition until three years later. Released in September 1998, Aquemini, garnered near-universal praise — earning Outkast a notoriously rare five mics in The Source — and is still considered to be one of hip-hop’s greatest albums.
No other hip-hop group sounded like Outkast, and Southern flavor and slang pervaded the album (see the harmonica breakdown in "Rosa Parks"), but it was also the live instrumentation on tracks like "Liberation" and "SpottieOttieDopaliscious" that made the album so special.
Fellow ATLiens Goodie MOB, a group in the Dungeon Family collective, also released an album in '98. Like Aquemini, their sophomore effort Still Standing was produced largely by Organized Noize and featured a similar production style.
Outkast and Goodie MOB collaborated often in the 1990s: Aquemini’s "Liberation" only works because of the deeply soulful vocals of Goodie MOB’s Cee-Lo, and Still Standing’s "Black Ice" features one of Andre 3000’s most poetic and brilliant verses. While speaking to the many struggles of being young, Black and poor in the South, these two groups demonstrated how regional pride could be asserted in a more positive way, instead of spilling over into real-life violence; it was evidence of hip-hop’s maturity.
On the more commercial side, Atlanta rapper/producer Jermaine Dupri — who was already producing and writing songs for major R&B artists like Usher and Mariah Carey — released his debut album, resulting in one of the hits of the summer: the bouncy Jay-Z collaboration "Money Ain’t A Thang." New Orleans was also becoming an important locus of Southern hip-hop by 1998, with Master P’s No Limit Records releasing albums by Master P himself, Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder, Mystikal, and Snoop Dogg. Hits included "Make ‘Em Say Ugh" and "It Ain’t My Fault," both containing Mystikal’s distinctive high-pitched growling; his lightning-fast verse on the first song is truly something to behold. Also from Crescent City, Cash Money Records struck gold with Juvenile’s 400 Degreez and his booty-shaking anthem, "Back That Azz Up."
The Rise of Underground Hip-Hop
1998 was also the year "underground" hip-hop bubbled to the surface as a reaction to the genre’s crossover success. It was defined primarily by a critique of the presumed excessive consumerism of mainstream hip-hop, and a desire to return to the days when DJs, b-boys and graffiti artists were as important as rappers.
Turntablism was strongly associated with this style, as were cyphers — gatherings where rappers, b-boys and beatboxers would form a circle and engage in freestyle battles. The emergence of underground hip-hop was another sign that the genre was maturing as a whole; artists were no longer as worried about the ghettoization by the music industry and some felt that it had strayed too far from its marginalized roots.
The most significant underground hip-hop album of 1998 was Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, created by a young duo of Brooklyn MCs. Interestingly, it was released on the same day in September as Aquemini, as well as two other major albums of the year: Jay-Z’s Vol. 2…Hard Knock Life and A Tribe Called Quest’s The Love Movement — which although not an essential listen in their discography, did produce a hit with "Find A Way." Four major albums released on the same day was a testament to how far hip-hop had come.
In fact, the Black Star album was an explicit critique of the type of consumerist mentality and sexually explicit/boasting lyrics Jay-Z employed on Hard Knock Life. Songs like "Definition" display Mos Def and Talib Kweli’s exceptional lyrical dexterity and clever references, while "Hater Players" draws a clear line in the sand between commercial hip-hop and the "real MCs." In the latter, Kweli raps: "We ain't havin’ that, reachin’ past the star status that you grabbin’ at/ My battle raps blast your ass back to your natural habitat."
Mos Def’s adaptation of Slick Rick’s "Children’s Story" is a clever screed about the lack of originality within mainstream hip-hop. "They jacked the beats, money came wit' ease, but son, he couldn't stop, it's like he had a disease. He jacked another and another, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder." The song was a not-so-veiled reference to the production technique utilized by Puff Daddy, relying heavily on well-known samples of soul and R&B songs.
Black Star also distinguished itself from much of commercial rap of the time by uplifting, instead of denigrating, women. "Brown Skin Lady" is an ode to Black women throughout the African diaspora, presenting a clear contrast to the frequent use of the b-word on Hard Knock Life, particularly on one of its biggest hits, "Can I Get A…" Nonetheless, like many "conscious" rappers — notably, Common, who makes a guest appearance on this album — Black Star reflects the almost-universal homophobia in hip-hop at the time, particularly in Mos Def’s verse on "Re-Definition."
Despite Jay-Z’s distrust and demonization of women on Hard Knock Life — his third and most commercially successful record — no one can dispute his tremendous verbal prowess and flow, evident on tracks like "N— What, N— Who." And while he called out "gold diggers" in "Can I Get A…," he invited a female rapper (Amil) onto the song — leveling the playing field a bit.
Production-wise, Jay-Z’s use of the "Annie" theme for the title song was one of the most inspired choices in the genre’s history. The slick production of the album guaranteed it would be a home run; in retrospect, it heralded the future of commercial hip-hop’s sound.
Oher underground hip-hop artists were making big waves in 1998. Rawkus Records — which released the Black Star album — put out an important compilation, Lyricist Lounge, Volume 1, which featured performances by Mos Def, Talib Kweli, A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, and the L.A.-based Jurassic 5, who also released their debut album that year. Other West Coast underground artists who released debut albums in 1998 included the Bay Area-based Hieroglyphics and Rasco, and the L.A.-based Aceyalone and People Under the Stairs.
Debuts, Veterans And The Biggest Album Of The Year
1998 also saw the release of important debut albums by commercial hip-hop artists like DMX, Big Pun and Black Eyed Peas. Big Pun’s "Still Not A Player" was one of the biggest hits of the year, with his lyricism reminiscent of Biggie.
DMX had a particularly productive year, releasing two albums in 1998, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood. That year, it was impossible to escape the melodic hook and chorus of "Ruff Ryders’ Anthem" ("Stop! Drop! Shut ‘em down, open up shop") from the first DMX album. DMX also contributed a memorable verse on the Lox’s hit "Money, Power, Respect," off the group’s debut album, released by Puffy’s Bad Boy.
Beyond the debut albums of 1998, a slew of established artists from various regions and representing myriad styles put out their third, fourth or fifth albums. East Coast artists with new albums included Beastie Boys, Method Man, Redman, Busta Rhymes, Queen Latifah, Gang Starr, Mc Lyte, and Public Enemy, who released a soundtrack album for Spike Lee’s He Got Game. On the West Coast, there were new albums by Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, and Digital Underground.
Notwithstanding the success of so many diverse hip-hop artists, no album achieved greater heights than Lauryn Hill’s masterful solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. To start, it won Album Of The Year at the 1999 GRAMMYs, a feat never before accomplished for a hip-hop artist, as well as four other golden gramophones. Hill wrote, arranged and produced the album herself, reportedly turning down offers for production help from both her former Fugees bandmate Wyclef Jean and her label, which suggested bringing in Wu-Tang Clan’s mastermind, RZA.
The album was somewhere between R&B and hip-hop (and in fact was nominated and won in R&B instead of rap categories), and right off the bat, the album showcases Hill’s considerable skill as both a rapper and singer. The dancehall-inflected "Lost Ones" takes on an aggressive stance, with Hill rapping in Jamaican patois and invoking phrases of religious retribution, but it’s followed by a neo-soul breakup ballad, "Ex-Factor," featuring Hill’s signature throaty vocals.
The other major hits on the album besides "Ex-Factor" were "Doo Wop (That Thing)" and "Everything Is Everything," which cemented Hill as one of the best lyricists in hip-hop. Twenty-five years later, the whole album holds up beautifully and features some incredible invited guests.
Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that the first hip-hop album to break the Album Of The Year barrier was released in 1998 — when the genre had reached what is arguably its creative apex. With the incredible stylistic and regional diversity of that year’s albums, hip-hop had succeeded beyond its founders’ wildest dreams.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016
Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.
Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.
A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.
This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system.
"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."
He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.
"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.
To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood."
Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at GRAMMY.com every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes.
Photo: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images
'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill': 25 Facts About The Iconic Album, From Its Cover To Its Controversy
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the solo album by the Fugees star, GRAMMY.com digs into how Lauryn Hill's monumental LP was made and the impact on popular music that followed.
Fugees singer and rapper Lauryn Hill has been celebrating the 25th anniversary of her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill all summer, with special performances at high-profile festivals across the country, including Roots Picnic in Philadelphia and ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. Soon, she'll embark on a 17-date world tour, co-headlining with Fugees on the dates that take place in the United States.
Released on Aug. 25, 1998, Miseducation was Hill's debut solo album and only one to date. Decades later, it remains a touchstone and high watermark for hip-hop and R&B, helping to redefine both genres. Hill and her opus are still influencing artists today, from Lizzo to Drake.
Keep the party going with 25 facts about the album and its impact, from what the cover art was originally supposed to look like, to the current Mayor who appeared as the narrator, and the book to read for all the Miseducation tea.
Miseducation Is The First Hip-Hop Record To Win Album Of The Year
In 1999, Hill became the first woman to earn five GRAMMYs in one night. Her wins included Best New Artist, Best R&B Album and Album Of The Year. (To date, she has won eight GRAMMYs and received 19 GRAMMY nominations in total.)
"This is crazy, 'cuz this is hip-hop music!" Hill exclaimed when Whitney Houston presented her with the golden gramophone for Album Of The Year, which no other hip-hop album had done before. Outkast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below, which won in 2004, is the only other hip-hop album to win the prestigious category.
The Album Was Recorded In Bob Marley's Home
Bob Marley's legendary Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica — which also happened to be his home — is the most prominent of the three places where Miseducation was recorded.
"We recorded in New York, Miami, and at Hope Road in Jamaica," the album's sound engineer Gordon "Commissioner Gordon" Williams recalled to Okayplayer in 2021. "To be in Bob Marley's house created a landscape for magic. Stephen Marley was the one who invited us to come in. I had to organize the equipment that had to be brought to Jamaica, and we had to make sure it could work as a museum when we weren't recording."
Hill Kept Everything Raw On Purpose
Hill and Commissioner Gordon worked to create a sound that's deliberately raw. As she told Rolling Stone in 2008, "I don't like to use compressors and take away my textures, because I was raised on music that was recorded before technology advanced to the place where it could be smooth.
"I wanna hear that thickness of sound," she continued. "You can't get that from a computer, because a computer's too perfect. But that human element, that's what makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I love that."
Hill's Personality And Experiences Are In The Songs
On the album, Hill shares her struggles as a young Black mother who has been through turbulent relationships on songs such as "Ex Factor" and "Forgive Them Father," an honesty that's still relatable and appreciated 25 years later.
"I think the piece as a whole communicates my personality, it is the culmination of my experiences, the sum total of what I had gone through at a certain point in my life," Hill said in a 2013 interview with The Guardian. "To me it's like driving in a storm, it's hard to see where you're going. You're just praying to get out of it. But once you get out of it, you can look back and say; 'Oh man, thank god!' Give thanks, 'cos that's what I came out of. That's what the album feels like to me."
Her Label Didn't Love Some Of The Early Versions
Miseducation went through a few iterations before it was ultimately finalized for release, and her label (Ruffhouse/Columbia Records) reportedly was unimpressed with the first work that they heard.
"Lauryn and her mom took [early versions of] her album to Sony Records and they said, 'This is coffee table music. What is this s—? Coffee table music," Rohan Marley, the father of Hill's children, told Rolling Stone in 2008. "She took her s— and walked outta there."
The Album Made Chart History In The United States
Miseducation landed in the top spot on the Billboard 200 in the first week of release. The Score, Hill's 1996 album with Fugees, was also a No. 1 hit, but it didn't debut in that position. Her feat set a record for the first unaccompanied female solo rapper to debut at No. 1 on the all-genre albums chart. (To this day, she remains one of only five female rappers to achieve the feat; the other four are Foxy Brown, Eve, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B.)
It Was An International Hit, Too
Like The Score, Hill's solo album was a major success internationally. Miseducation appeared in the top 20 on pop and R&B charts all over the world, including No. 1 in Canada and Ireland, as well as on the UK R&B Albums chart.
"Doo Wop (That Thing)" Is A Two-Time Billboard Record Breaker
As a woman solo artist, Hill set long-held records for singles with "Doo Wop (That Thing)," which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rap Songs chart. Miseducation also set a record for being the first album by a woman to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
The Album Also Set A Sales Record
Guinness Book of World Records notes that the album's first-week sales of 422,624 copies set a record for female artists at the time. Though that's still an astonishing opening week figure, Hill's record was later broken by Adele when she sold 3.38 million copies of her album 25.
A Book Inspired The Title…
In a 2013 interview with The Guardian, Hill cited Carter G. Woodson's 1933 book The Mis-Education of The Negro as an inspiration.
"The title of the album was meant to discuss those life lessons, those things that you don't get in any textbook, things that we go through that force us to mature," she said. "Hopefully we learn. Some people get stuck. They say that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and these are some really powerful lessons that changed the course and direction of my life."
…And A Book Now Examines Its Impact
In 2018, author Joan Morgan, the program director of NYU's Center for Black Visual Culture, released She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill on Atria Books. Morgan beautifully combines interviews with Black authors and activists such as dream hampton, Tarana Burke and Michaela Angela Davis with her own experience, and how they all found resonating messages within the album.
"I loved Miseducation, at least as much as the nineteen million or so folks who've bought it since 1998," she wrote. "I'd even go as far as to say I probably loved it more than every mofo in those governing bodies that bestowed it with seventeen cumulative Billboard, American Music, Grammy, and MTV awards. Why? Because I was one of the score of hip-hop-loving and/or pregnant women who swore the album was soundtracking her life."
The Narrator Is Now The Mayor Of A Major City
The teacher heard talking with students on Miseducation's interludes, is voiced by Ras Baraka, now the longtime Mayor of Newark, NJ. At the time of Hill's album, Baraka, who is the son of the famous poet and activist Amiri Baraka, was well known in the community.
"I was running for councilman in Newark and was also an eighth grade teacher," Baraka revealed to Rolling Stone in 2008. "I was just about to take two of my students home and Lauryn called and asked if I could come up to her house in South Orange. There were chairs set up in the living room and a bunch of kids were there. She told me she wanted to discuss the concept of love. There was a blackboard and I wrote the letters 'LOVE' and we just went into the whole discussion."
The Album Cover Was Almost Shot At Hill's High School
Photographer Eric Johnson and Hill went to her alma mater, Columbia High School in South Orange, New Jersey, to shoot pictures of her for the album cover.
"I always wanted to shoot photos that people would really connect with," Johnson told Okayplayer in 2021. "I wanted to create something that was chic, but that regular people could identify with as well."
But instead of using one of those raw photos, Hill ultimately decided on the carved desk cover art that fans know, which is based on an image that Johnson took of her face.
Miseducation Was Released In Four Different Physical Formats
Released in a pre-streaming era, Miseducation dropped on cassette, CD, minidisc and record. There is even a rare limited edition album made with orange-colored vinyl. (It's now available on all major streaming platforms.)
There Are Two Hidden Tracks
The vinyl version of the album and select international editions include two songs that aren't listed on the cover: "Tell Him" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," a cover of Frankie Valli's Sixties standard. (Though today, the songs aren't hidden — they're widely available on streaming services.)
"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" Was In A Movie
Hill's rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" was first in a Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts movie called Conspiracy Theory that came out in 1997 — which is the reason the song ended up on the album.
"It was originally recorded for [the soundtrack for the movie] Conspiracy Theory and ended up on the radio, became popular, and that's how it ended became a bonus track," Commissioner Gordon explained to Rolling Stone.
Carlos Santana Guest Stars On "To Zion"
When Santana played guitar on Hill's song about her son Zion, he fulfilled one of her childhood dreams. He weaves his instrument delicately and masterfully around a marching drum beat and the vocals of Hill and her background singers.
"I used to write music, you know, write songs over [Santana's] guitar playing when I was a little kid," Hill told MTV News in 1999. "I had all his records and I would play 'Samba Pa Ti' on [the] 'Abraxas' album and just write rhymes and songs on top of it. So I knew Carlos way before he knew me."
Her Duet With Mary J. Blige Samples Wu-Tang Clan
Hill and Mary J. Blige's duet "I Used to Love Him" samples a hook from "Ice Cream," a song released in 1995 by rapper Raekwon featuring his fellow Wu-Tang Clan members Cappadonna and Method Man. The track's title also calls back to another '90s rap star, as it's a play on Common's 1994 song "I Used to Love H.E.R.," an acronym for Hip-Hop in its Essence is Real.
A College-Aged John Legend Played On "Everything Is Everything"
John Legend was attending the University of Pennsylvania when he got the opportunity to meet Hill through a mutual friend. After he played piano and sang a Stevie Wonder song for her, she invited him to contribute to Miseducation.
"Lauryn said, 'Why don't you play on this record we're working on right now? And it was 'Everything is Everything," he said in a 2013 interview with Yahoo!
The song became a Top 40 hit, and Legend scored some bragging rights at school. "I went back to college and I was the man after that," he joked.
A Subtle Salute To House Music Hides In The Lyrics
Though Miseducation is a hip-hop work that doesn't sonically veer into house music, Hill winks at a foundational classic from the dance music genre on the album. When she says, "Jack ya, jack ya, jack ya body" in "Every Ghetto, Every City," she is referencing the 1986 club anthem "Jack Your Body" by Chicago DJ/producer Steve 'Silk' Hurley.
New Ark's Lawsuit Over The Album Raised Questions
In late 1998, the music collective New Ark (guitarist Johari Newton, pianist Tejumold Newton, drum programmer Vada Nobles and songwriter Rasheem "Kilo" Pugh) sued ill, alleging that their work on Miseducation was not properly credited. The lawsuit was reportedly settled for $5 million in 2001, but accusations outside the legal arena have persisted for years.
In 2018, Hill posted a written response to pianist Robert Glasper's claims that she uses work from others without giving credit. In it, she acknowledged that it took the work of others to bring her vision to life, but asserts that she is the nucleus, and that she hired musicians to execute her specific ideas.
"The album inspired many people, from all walks of life, because of its radical (intense) will to live and to express Love," she countered in the response, which was posted to Medium. "I appreciate everyone who was a part of it, in any and every capability. It wouldn't have existed the way that it did without the involvement, skill, hard work, and talents of the artists/musicians and technicians who were a part of it, but it still required my vision, my passion, my faith, my will, my soul, my heart, and my story."
"Ex-Factor" Made Its Way Into Two 2018 Rap Hits
Hill's "Ex-Factor" was sampled in two different pop hits that were both released in April 2018. Drake's "Nice For What" topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while Cardi B's "Be Careful" peaked at No. 11; both achieved higher chart success than the original, which stalled at number 21.
Lizzo took Inspiration From "Doo Wop (That Thing)" In 2022
Teaming up with Mark Ronson, Lizzo interpolated (aka replayed) melodies from Hill's hit "Doo Wop (That Thing)" on "Break Up Twice." The song appears on Lizzo's second album, Special. She's also performed covers of the original track on tour.
The Album Set Another Record 23 Years After Its Release
In 2021, Guinness Book of World Records noted that Hill became the first female rapper to reach RIAA Diamond certification for selling 10 million copies of Miseducation. Not only has no other female rapper achieved the feat since, but Hill is in rare company: the only other rappers to reach Diamond status for an album are Eminem, OutKast, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Beastie Boys and MC Hammer.
Hill Announced A World Tour To Celebrate The 25th Anniversary
On Aug. 22, the star announced a 17-date world tour celebrating the 25th anniversary of her monumental solo album. Fugees will co-headline the U.S. stops, which begin in Minneapolis on Sept. 8.
"The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is and was a love song to my parents, my family, my people, my musical and cultural forebears, my teachers, my loves, my Creator," Hill said in a press release. "I wrote love songs and protest songs— (still love songs) about the subjects and interests that inspired and moved me. I was confident that what inspired me would resonate with an audience that had been led to believe that songs of that kind could only live in the past.
"I loved music, I loved people, I truly felt grateful to God for my life, and genuinely blessed to have a platform where I could share wisdom and perspective through music," she added. "I felt a charge to challenge the idea that certain kinds of expression and/or certain kinds of people didn't belong in certain places. I loved showing what could work or happen provided there was imagination, creativity and LOVE leading the way."
Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Outside Lands 2023: 10 Female And LGBTQIA+ Performers Taking Center Stage, From Lana Del Rey To Megan Thee Stallion
Outside Lands is stacking a sensational lineup for its 15th anniversary from Aug. 11 to 13. From aespa to Janelle Monáe, here's 10 awe-inspiring female and nonbinary artists who are ready to rule San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of San Francisco's Outside Lands, and while the festival always boasts the Bay Area's best, the 2023 lineup is especially stacked with incredible female and nonbinary talent. From aespa making K-pop history to La Doña's homecoming, the fest's latest iteration is bound to be badass.
As San Francisco transforms Golden Gate Park into a lavish festival ground for three days, check out these 10 performers ready to electrify the city.
Megan Thee Stallion
Time to get lit like a match. Megan Thee Stallion has been hitting stages across the country this year — from LA Pride to her hometown of Houston for the Men's NCAA Final Four — and there's no doubt she'll bring the heat to Golden Gate Park on Sunday. Though the three-time GRAMMY winner is known for her high-hype, feel-good freestyles, her latest album, Traumazine, opens up about anxiety and the importance of self-care. So whether you're having a hot or healing girl summer, her headlining set will be the spot for festgoers to let loose.
On Friday, Janelle Monáe will usher San Francisco into The Age of Pleasure. Sensuality and freedom flood the singer's most recent album, and for Monáe's headlining show, fans can expect bursting psychedelic soul, pop and hip-hop in an evening full of color and love.
Emphasizing intersectionality and identity (Monáe identifies as nonbinary), her wide-ranging performance will traverse her trailblazing concept albums like GRAMMY-nominated Dirty Computer and The ArchAndroid. Having conquered both the big screen and the stage as a multihyphenate, Monáe's set will be nothing short of a spectacle.
Hot off supporting Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, beabadoobee is headed to Golden Gate Park on Sunday afternoon. The Filipino-English singer/songwriter has carved out a space for herself between indie rock and bedroom pop, first becoming known for her sweet, spacey falsetto and her sleeper hit "Coffee" in 2020. The indie star has since expanded her worldbuilding abilities rapidly, spinning intricate scenes from her debut Fake It Flowers into her scenic second album Beatopia — similarly, beabadoobee's Outside Lands set will likely flaunt the vitality of her imagination.
Raveena is the definition of grace, and her Friday Outside Lands set is sure to swell with serenity. Mindfulness is the objective of the singer's soulful music as she grounds herself through tranquil mixes of R&B and pop. From her 2019 debut Lucid to 2022's Asha's Awakening, her voice epitomizes comfort whether it floats through delicate strings or stony drums. At Golden Gate Park, Raveena will bring momentary, blissful peace to the festival's chaotic fun.
Ethel Cain is ready to take concertgoers to church — even on a Friday. The experimental breakout star is known for dissecting dark, Southern Gothic themes in her music, establishing herself as a rising leader in the modern alternative genre (and also in the LGBTQIA+ community, as she is a trans woman). Her debut album Preacher's Daughter only came out last year, but the critically acclaimed album swiftly earned the musician a cult following. After bewitching Coachella audiences back in April, Cain's upcoming Outside Lands set is sure to be compelling.
More than 10 years after she wrote her first original song, NIKI is ready to storm the Twin Peaks stage. Her deeply sincere indie pop drifts with bittersweetness, and it's powerful to witness how well the Indonesian singer's intimacy translates to massive crowds.
Signed to label 88rising in 2017, NIKI soon found herself playing concerts for a growing global fan base that resonated with her heart-to-heart songwriting. Ranging from the dramatic depths of her debut album, MOONCHILD, to 2022's earnest self-titled Nicole, NIKI's Outside Lands set will be perfect for listeners who want to escape with their head in the clouds.
Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey is the reigning queen of summertime sadness, and she'll be doin' time at Golden Gate Park as one of Saturday's headliners. Known for spinning tales of tragic romance, the GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter plans to enchant audiences at Twin Peaks stage following her release of Did You Know There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard. Her discography haunts and aches, filled with everything from folky gospel to trap pop; if one thing's for sure, Del Rey's highly anticipated performance is bound to be a spiritual journey.
Born and raised in San Francisco, La Doña is making her city proud by performing at the Bay's biggest annual music festival. Taking the Lands End stage with her 11-piece band on Friday, the Chicana musician has come a long way since picking up the trumpet at age 7.
Centering around personal identity and community, her music beautifully merges traditional Latin folk with modern cumbia, reggaeton, and hip-hop. La Doña's progressive sound just earned her a spot on Barack Obama's annual summer playlist, and less than a month later, her hometown will get to see what all of the hype is about.
When aespa takes to Twin Peaks stage Friday, they'll make history as the first K-pop act to ever perform at Outside Lands. Exploding onto the music scene in 2020, the innovative South Korean girl group gives K-pop a fresh edge, distinctively inspired by hyperpop and hip-hop. The group's name combines the words "avatar," "experience," and "aspect," representing their futuristic style that's often embellished by a metaverse aesthetic. Their mind-blowing Coachella and Governors Ball debuts hinted that aespa is ready to pull out all the stops for their Outside Lands crowd.
Maggie Rogers knows how to break free. The 2020 Best New Artist GRAMMY nominee will get the crowd hyped for Saturday headliners Foo Fighters with an enthralling set. Although her debut album Heard It in a Past Life pulses with steady revelations, her alternative follow-up Surrender leans into sweat and desire. As she's proven at many festivals past, Rogers' show will be infused with bright energy, from the slow emotional burn of "Light On" to the exhilarating "Want Want" as the sun goes down.