The Album: Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
On August 25, 1998, Lauryn Hill, the breakout rapping/singing star from The Fugees released her first (and only) solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. On August 25, 2018, exactly 20 years later, the Heat Rocks crew invited author Joan Morgan to join us to talk about that album and her new book about that album, She Begat This. Call it a happy coincidence, call it kismet but either way, call it an amazing conversation.
It’s difficult to overstate the singular importance of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This was a generation before artists like Drake made singing + rapping into a popular form; Lauryn was wading into unknown waters when she put this together. As we discuss, her own label had to be pushed to even put the album out but once they did, it became an instant smash: multi-platinum sales, the first “Best Album” Grammy award for a hip-hop album, and it elevated, for better or for worse, Lauryn – still in her early 20s – to becoming one of hip-hop and R&B’s most important figures. Of course, in the years since, controversy has dogged her, especially regarding her live shows and two decades later, her legacy is a complicated one, as we get into. Joan Morgan would have been an ideal guest even if she hadn’t written a book about the album; her bonafides as one of the great cultural critics to emerge in the 1990s were already well-established, least of all in her 1999 collection of essays, When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost. Joan’s based in New York, finishing up a PhD at NYU, but she happened to be in town on that fateful 20th anniversary day to come chat with us.
More on Joan Morgan
More on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
- “The Selling of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (Okayplayer, 2018)
- “Inside The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (Rolling Stone, 2018)
- “My favourite album: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (The Guardian, 2011)
Show Tracklisting (all songs from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
unless indicated otherwise):
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About the show
Hosted by Oliver Wang and Morgan Rhodes, every episode of Heat Rocks invites a special guest to talk about a heat rock – a hot album, a scorching record. These are in-depth conversations about the albums that shape our lives.
Our guests include musicians, writers, and scholars and though we don’t exclusively focus on any one genre, expect to hear about albums from the worlds of soul, hip-hop, funk, jazz, Latin, and more.
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