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How We Met Lauryn Hill
Episode 123rd February 2022 • Flickers • Matthew Linder
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February 23, 2022

How We Met Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill with only one studio album had a significant impact on many hip hop artists that came after her. Her impact on women rappers is not to be understated and even the wave of Drakes and melodic rappers can be directly traced back to her. But her influence is more than just her music but how she presented and carried herself as strong, feminine, and confident in God. And also the ways in which she spoke up against misogyny, racism, classism, capitalism, and so many other -isms. Besides her dope music these are just a few of  the reasons why her legacy is felt even today, a legacy that has reached far beyond music and into the very lives of her fans. Those personal encounters with Lauryn and her music are the stories we’ll hear today.

Key Moments:

  • Montage of Lauryn Hill’s life and career. - 00:00
  • Krystal Roberts and Matt Linder introduce themselves and why they're doing this podcast. - 03:07
  • Lauryn's influence on other artists - 06:09
  • Krystal shares what Lauryn has meant to her. - 08:39
  • Raven Jones Stanbrough relives her experience of buying and listening to “Miseducation” for the first time. - 12:23
  • Cona Marshall and Raven recount how revolutionary Lauryn’s look was in the late 90s and the personal impact of Lauryn’s look on them. - 15:50
  • Eric House talks about singing “Joyful, Joyful” at church and “Killing Me Softly” at summer camp. - 23:48
  • Alex Nava discusses Lauryn’s collaboration with Santana and the influence of Latinos in hip hop. - 27:54
  • Julius Tunstall speaks on Lauryn’s influence on his music and how it made him grow as a Black creative. - 32:32
  • Otis Lambert on how Lauryn allowed him to rap about real topics and not care what others think. - 40:16
  • Cheryl Kirk-Duggan relates Lauryn’s life to her own and how Lauryn’s music has been a part of her academic work. - 47:45
  • After the credits: Hear Matt’s introduction to Lauryn story and how she made him fall in love with hip hop. - 55:55

Hosts: Lauryn Hill researcher, Krystal Roberts, and Hip Hop scholar, Matt Linder.

Contributors: Raven Jones Stanbrough, Cona Marshall, Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Alex Nava, Eric House, Julius Tunstall, and Otis Lambert aka OT The GoldN' Child.

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Website: flickerspodcast.com

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Join the conversation about Lauryn over at our Goodpods group.

Take the next step and text this episode to a friend who is a Lauryn Hill fan, a hip hop fan, or a music fan. They can subscribe on their favorite podcast app here: https://www.flickerspodcast.com/listen.

Logo design by @papercutprayers.

Theme music by Julius Tunstall

Additional music from Yons, fndguitar, Nabil Sioty, and Ashuka Made-It.

Episode Transcript: https://share.descript.com/view/SVDKcRYnVrk

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Transcripts

Krystal Roberts:

The 13 year old singing at the Apollo.

Krystal Roberts:

Rita Louise Watson in sister act two.

Krystal Roberts:

One-third of the Fugees.

Krystal Roberts:

The first woman to win five Grammys in a single night.

Lauryn Hill:

Thank you, God.

Lauryn Hill:

Thank you father so much.

Lauryn Hill:

This is crazy because this is hip hop music

Krystal Roberts:

and the mom who made a choice to keep her son,

Krystal Roberts:

The artist who went quote crazy.

Lauryn Hill:

And now that people think I'm crazy and deranged

Lauryn Hill:

we have peace, total peace.

Lauryn Hill:

And so as far as I'm concerned, I'm crazyand deranged.

Lauryn Hill:

As far as all y'all know I'm crazyand deranged.,

Krystal Roberts:

the woman who went to jail for tax evasion,

News Reporter:

the eight time Grammy winner was sentenced to three months in

News Reporter:

prison after pleading guilty to failing to file tax returns between 2005 and 2006.

Krystal Roberts:

Who is critically late to her live performances.

News Reporter:

also has a reputation for being a little bit tardy at a

News Reporter:

recent French show on her miseducation of Lauryn hill 20th anniversary tour.

News Reporter:

She only performed a half hour set because she showed up two hours late.

Krystal Roberts:

Who trends on Twitter, dropping a rare verse.

Krystal Roberts:

And whose impact and influence is still felt in hip hop today,

Krystal Roberts:

These all informed the way she has presented herself and how we,

Krystal Roberts:

her fans and critics have come to conclusions on who she is.

Krystal Roberts:

I'm Krystal Roberts.

Matt Linder:

I'm Matt Linder.

Krystal Roberts:

This is Flickers.

Krystal Roberts:

How We Met Lauryn Hill

Matt Linder:

Krystal.

Matt Linder:

I am so excited and thankful you are here.

Matt Linder:

I want to take a moment to let you introduce yourself.

Matt Linder:

And then tell listeners about how you and I connected.

Krystal Roberts:

Awesome.

Krystal Roberts:

Thanks.

Krystal Roberts:

I appreciate that, Matt.

Krystal Roberts:

Yeah.

Krystal Roberts:

So I have a MFA in Professional Writing from Savannah college, art and design,

Krystal Roberts:

and I did my graduate thesis on Lauryn.

Krystal Roberts:

Hill's Unplugged album and that's sort of how we got connected.

Krystal Roberts:

You found it online somehow.

Krystal Roberts:

So you reached out and sort of started this project.

Krystal Roberts:

As it relates to the thesis.

Krystal Roberts:

You know, my primary interests at the time was the biblical

Krystal Roberts:

themes of the unplugged album.

Krystal Roberts:

And at times the almost Bible reading on certain song.

Krystal Roberts:

So I was really fascinated by how she was using her understanding

Krystal Roberts:

of the Bible to diagnose and then offers solutions to social

Krystal Roberts:

religious and institutional problems.

Krystal Roberts:

Are rooted in racism and injustice, but what became most interesting to

Krystal Roberts:

me were the solutions to problems she identified as plaguing all of

Krystal Roberts:

humanity and specifically those within her community and in hip hop, even as

Krystal Roberts:

she spoke from a first person point of view solutions, I argued in my

Krystal Roberts:

thesis were the same as the one she posited on miseducation, it was just

Krystal Roberts:

a little more palatable on that album.

Matt Linder:

Yeah, definitely.

Matt Linder:

And I greatly enjoyed your thesis, exploring all those topics.

Matt Linder:

And that's why I reached out to you for this season of flickers.

Matt Linder:

And I thought you'd be the perfect fit for.

Matt Linder:

Exploring Lauryn and our music, this spiritual themes, as well as you know,

Matt Linder:

the societal racial injustice themes are, are all throughout her music.

Krystal Roberts:

Glad you reached out.

Krystal Roberts:

But what about you?

Krystal Roberts:

What's what's your background?

Matt Linder:

Well, I have a master's in music, history and literature.

Matt Linder:

I'm a hip hop.

Matt Linder:

And I've been really interested in my scholarship, exploring the intersections

Matt Linder:

of faith and racial justice in hip hop.

Matt Linder:

I have written on Lauryn Hill and her MTV unplugged album, but not to the level

Matt Linder:

of depth or extent that Krystal has.

Matt Linder:

I presented a paper at the festival of faith and music in 2015, that focus on

Matt Linder:

how Lauryn's faith informed her approach in the fight against systemic racism.

Matt Linder:

So this is another reason why crystal and I connected because we're exploring

Matt Linder:

her music on very similar themes.

Krystal Roberts:

In this season, you're not only going to hear about, uh,

Krystal Roberts:

speaking on these things, but we've also gathered together hip hop scholars,

Krystal Roberts:

writers, and musicians who all studied and been inspired by Lauryn today.

Krystal Roberts:

We're going to hear their stories.

Krystal Roberts:

Of how Lauryn personally impacted women their work.

Krystal Roberts:

So let's get into it.

Lauryn Hill:

Um, I made a piece of music from a sincere place,

Lauryn Hill:

and I think that sincerity has no choice, but to resonate with people.

Lauryn Hill:

You know what I mean?

Lauryn Hill:

I think that my motives were probably in the right place, you

Lauryn Hill:

know what I mean, at the right time.

Lauryn Hill:

And I think it resonated and, and spoke or represented some before generation

Lauryn Hill:

of people who needed that at that time, who wanted that at that time,

Krystal Roberts:

In The mid to late 1990s Lauryn's impact was being

Krystal Roberts:

felt all throughout music from the moment she burst onto the scene.

Interview Clip:

With the Fugees many in hip hop already knew

Interview Clip:

she was going to be a star.

Interview Clip:

It changed my life.

Interview Clip:

It changed anybody who was tuned into Lauryn Hill.

Interview Clip:

At that time and the Fugees's at that time, it changed it because

Interview Clip:

first of all, we was wondering what she was going to do solo.

Krystal Roberts:

The music industry knew how big she'd blow up.

Interview Clip:

I just heard the music and I just heard her singing And my joy.

Interview Clip:

And my world is in Zion.

Interview Clip:

I was like, this is what she's coming with this.

Interview Clip:

This is about the term music, not just hip hop.

Interview Clip:

It's about turn music on it, on its head.

Interview Clip:

That she did.

Interview Clip:

She turned the music on its head,

Krystal Roberts:

but maybe what everyone didn't know.

Krystal Roberts:

Was the impact she would have on her audience.

Interview Clip:

And I was a big fan of Lauryn Hill when she's in the

Interview Clip:

Fugees anyway, and that was like a record I grew up listening to.

Interview Clip:

And I analyzed that record for about a month at the age of eight.

Interview Clip:

And I was singing along to the lyrics of some of the deepest lyrics.

Krystal Roberts:

Those that would hear the miseducation of Lauryn

Krystal Roberts:

hill and identify with her in ways that will last, even until today.

Interview Clip:

Fit in a box.

Interview Clip:

And I don't feel like I do either, but this was speaking this

Interview Clip:

spiritual language I needed to hear.

Interview Clip:

In an art form that I understood and could related to Lauryn is a spitter.

Interview Clip:

Lauryn gave birth to Drake.

Interview Clip:

Without Lauryn there's no Drake.

Interview Clip:

You cannot deny it.

Krystal Roberts:

Those that would see her and recognize themselves or

Krystal Roberts:

discover who they one day wished to be.

Interview Clip:

First Lauryn Hill my biggest inspiration in music.

Interview Clip:

Uh, she taught me about truth and honesty and being unapologetically yourself.

Interview Clip:

Do you guys do y'all realize my idol is right there.

Interview Clip:

And within 30 seconds of me saying that she walked into

Interview Clip:

my room, I'm in love with you

Krystal Roberts:

that experience, that story of meeting Lauryn Hill for

Krystal Roberts:

the first time, it's very personal, especially to black women like me,

Krystal Roberts:

you know, honestly, seeing Lauryn Hill for the first time was like

Krystal Roberts:

seeing the realized version of myself.

Krystal Roberts:

I was about 14 and I saw the Fugee-la video, you know, on BET.

Krystal Roberts:

And for me, it was just awe-inspiring.

Krystal Roberts:

But later when the doo-wop video dropped, I was in the 10th grade.

Krystal Roberts:

And at that time I had dreams of singing.

Krystal Roberts:

So writing and I was even doing a little bit of wrapping.

Krystal Roberts:

Um, and I was dealing with topics that people in my age group at that time were

Krystal Roberts:

necessarily talking about it, thinking about, and Lauryn was, but I had these

Krystal Roberts:

insecurities, you know, I had insecurities about the way my hair looked, its texture.

Krystal Roberts:

Um, my intelligence as a little black girl, And I was trying to figure it

Krystal Roberts:

out, but I hadn't been able to, but then I saw Lauryn on my screen and she was

Krystal Roberts:

looking like me and she was doing the very things that I had dreams to do it.

Krystal Roberts:

And in a way I felt like she was talking to me and assuring me of

Krystal Roberts:

my worth and for a young girl with, you know, aspirations, she was just.

Krystal Roberts:

That representation, that showed me, it was possible to be black, intelligent,

Krystal Roberts:

talented, expressive, and somebody who couldn't love God openly but

Krystal Roberts:

still be dope as hell at the same.

Krystal Roberts:

At that age, it took some time for all of that to actualize those possibilities

Krystal Roberts:

just sort of unfolded for me over time.

Krystal Roberts:

So in many ways, I feel like I walked through life with Lauryn's music.

Krystal Roberts:

Because throughout every stop, somehow it was still relevant, but

Krystal Roberts:

I seen what had the biggest impact on me and really, really changed.

Krystal Roberts:

A lot of things for me is when I listened to the Unplugged album.

Krystal Roberts:

When it first came out, I listened to it and I connected with it, but

Krystal Roberts:

it was the biggest catalyst for me.

Krystal Roberts:

Probably a decade later when I listened to it again, but this time it was like

Krystal Roberts:

I was listening with different ears.

Krystal Roberts:

And that's really ultimately why I ended up analyzing it from my graduate thesis.

Krystal Roberts:

And when I look back on it, I realized through writing that thesis, I was

Krystal Roberts:

actually working at my own ideas and beliefs about God spirituality.

Krystal Roberts:

Freedom my identity, you know, even my voice as a woman, because she was voicing

Krystal Roberts:

raw vulnerability, honesty, and I never had the courage to do that before, but

Krystal Roberts:

somehow I felt emboldened after that.

Krystal Roberts:

She was expressing these things that I didn't even know how to at that point,

Krystal Roberts:

but I was learning how to through her and as these ideas are unfolding,

Krystal Roberts:

I found myself connecting in a way that ended up being transforming for me.

Krystal Roberts:

My experience is not unique.

Krystal Roberts:

Many others were anticipating the miseducation of Lauryn hill,

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

uh, a whole lot.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

This is Raven Jones Stanbrough, Detroit native and resident assistant

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

professor at Michigan State University.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

I am a wonderfully and happily mom of a beautiful, beautiful

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

little six year old girl,

Krystal Roberts:

plus the coauthor with Ashley Newbie of the rhetoric

Krystal Roberts:

of the womb, academic mothering, and trying times on the roads to Zion.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

I remember going to buy the miseducation,

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

the day that it came out.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

The day that it was released August 25th, 1998.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Earlier that year.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

I had just graduated high school.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

So I was on my way to college as a 17 year old.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

I'll never, ever forget that.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And my godbrother and Edward, bless his heart.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We went to Target.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We were so excited to wake up that day.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

You know what I'm saying?

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Like we were on the phone cause it wasn't a texting back in 1998.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We're calling each other, like, Hey you on the way, come and get me so

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

we can go and pick up the album.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

He came and picked me up from my house.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We're both from an area that's well known here in Detroit

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

nice little neighborhood.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And we drove to target, got the apple, pap it in his nineties.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Corsica.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Four-door Corsica old school.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We had to get the separate sound system to be able to play CDs as those cars

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

only only came with cassette tape, and then we gets album but it and we

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

drive to Michigan state university.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

He dropped me off at school.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Extremely good.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

The conversations that we had along the way afterwards and still

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

to this day, really ring true.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

In terms of who I am continually to develop as a woman and as

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

a scholar, it is an activists

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

More than just her music, Lauryn's style and presentation impacted

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

a generation of Black women.

For the PBS series, "Icon:

Music Through the Lens," photographer

For the PBS series, "Icon:

Jonathan Mannion speaks about an iconic photo shoot with Lauryn.

Jonathan Mannion:

This was her moment of "Miseducation of Lauryn Hill."

Jonathan Mannion:

It was Honey magazine,

Krystal Roberts:

Was an entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle

Krystal Roberts:

magazine for young urban women

Krystal Roberts:

.... Jonathan Mannion: And they

Krystal Roberts:

They got her.

Krystal Roberts:

She was a perfect fit.

Krystal Roberts:

And I was like, I'm going to play into the honey tones.

Krystal Roberts:

You know, the different

Krystal Roberts:

Reflecting on this moment, 20 years later, Joan Morgan had

Krystal Roberts:

this to say on the Breakfast Club in 2018,

Joan Morgan:

I was in the first issue you're in the first issue.

Joan Morgan:

And Lauryn was on the cover of that first issue?

Joan Morgan:

Yeah, that's Kierna Mayo and I'm Joicelyn Dingle.

Joan Morgan:

And that cover now is iconic.

Joan Morgan:

Like if you go through Tumblr, if you Google her image, that's

Joan Morgan:

one of the top ones to come up.

Joan Morgan:

But I think that women who looked like her, who were dark skin,

Joan Morgan:

natural hair had never really seen themselves represented that way.

Krystal Roberts:

And one story on the influence of Lauryn's look,

Cona Marshall:

Actually she is the reason why I got locs for sure

Krystal Roberts:

is from.

Cona Marshall:

Cona Marshall I am a professor assistant professor of religion,

Cona Marshall:

American religion at the University of Rochester here in Rochester, New York.

Cona Marshall:

She also wrote the hill from whence my help comes black women rapping and

Cona Marshall:

preaching activism, and liberation here.

Cona Marshall:

Connie speaks of the influence Lauryn had on her own personal style.

Cona Marshall:

And what embracing that meant for her as a yeah, I was 12 I'm from the Midwest.

Cona Marshall:

Nobody had locs back then, but I knew I was like, oh, when I turned fourty.

Cona Marshall:

Because that's how I thought Lauryn, her word.

Cona Marshall:

I was like, I'm going to get locs too.

Cona Marshall:

And you hear me call them locs and not dreadlocks.

Cona Marshall:

as the term now coming from colonizers to refer to them as dreadful, but also tied.

Cona Marshall:

to that kind of Rastafarianism ideology that the luck represent the lion of Judah

Cona Marshall:

who else had dreadlocks that were a woman.

Cona Marshall:

I don't know it was under India Arie and Erykah Dadu, head wrap.

Cona Marshall:

So I won't say anything, but what she did for me into question the game and

Cona Marshall:

the makers of the rule at a young age, that really thought she was singing

Cona Marshall:

to me because she said she was, you know, she went I wrote this song for

Cona Marshall:

everybody who was struggling in their youth, that was like, oh, that's me

Cona Marshall:

as someone trying to navigate the.

Cona Marshall:

So is she, that's why we need inclusivity, beause everyone brings

Cona Marshall:

their perspective to the world.

Cona Marshall:

And then it's a very high in a tree or a worm.

Cona Marshall:

You see the world differently when she would say, how are you going to win

Cona Marshall:

when you ain't right within, come again.

Cona Marshall:

And it was swaggy and it was a confident about her that she moved

Cona Marshall:

throughout the world and questions.

Cona Marshall:

And this is not to knock anyone that does, but she gave you a whole number

Cona Marshall:

kind of way to live as a black woman.

Cona Marshall:

I'd say I was a tomboy growing up.

Cona Marshall:

I own it now, but when she would say

Cona Marshall:

what she was doing and was like, we're outsourcing our nails, our hair.

Cona Marshall:

And it really isn't about that.

Cona Marshall:

It's about what's within me and her hair was all over the place.

Cona Marshall:

Quote, unquote, all over the place and she's beautiful.

Cona Marshall:

She looks dark and it felt like getting education and

Cona Marshall:

knowledge that I let you know.

Cona Marshall:

And at the time I'll tell you I'm a huge Brat, Missy Elliot, Mia X.

Cona Marshall:

I love hip hop and now, let alone black women in hip hop because as

Cona Marshall:

a tomboy, it's like, how do you get the hang out with the boys?

Cona Marshall:

You either play basketball or you're like rappers.

Cona Marshall:

I remember of her like having the baseball cap on and his scarf up

Cona Marshall:

under it she was still so beautiful.

Lauryn Hill:

I used to get dressed for y'all.

Lauryn Hill:

Now I don't do that no more.

Lauryn Hill:

I'm sorry.

Lauryn Hill:

It's a new day.

Krystal Roberts:

Five years later with a totally different look,

Krystal Roberts:

many felt that she was just as beautiful then as she was in 1990.

Krystal Roberts:

Here's Raven again.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Well, beautiful.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

In other Regal ways that hadn't been seen in terms of her commercial success

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

with the miseducation, you know, when she came out with miseducation, she

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

had long, beautiful lacks, makeup all the things that are affored to you

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

when you have a team, when you have all situation, whereas with Unplugged,

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

it was just her in her raw nature.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Blue Jean jacket, sitting down, speaking to our audience, they clapping and giving

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

her love, and I feel like she was still able to receive love in that way, even

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

though it was different from what she experienced with the Miseducation, like

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

it's, it's real, it's real out here.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

I can recall going to one of her first concerts when she went

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

on tour with the miseducation.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

I tapped into one of my close girlfriends at the time and 98 99, we dressed up

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

and drove from Michigan state university to Illinois to see Lauryn perform.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Let me tell you we wore blue jean jumpsuits, orange like tank tops in

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

orange and white air, like Nike Cortezes.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And we got dressed up.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We drove from East Lansing to Chicago to go and hear Lauryn perform.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

It changed our lives.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We still talk about.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

We still reminisce

Krystal Roberts:

For Raven, Lauryn's impact is more than her music and style,

Krystal Roberts:

but the way she carried herself as a mother, her focus on education and

Krystal Roberts:

centering herself, a religious faith.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And I always kind of saw myself in her.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And that's why I appreciate her so much is because in addition to her being.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And an activist and a mother, she is someone that we can relate to.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And I don't feel like that's just the gender specific.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Like we're living in a world right now where we need to take no, this

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

of not only men issues, but women's issues, children's issues, family

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

issues, and her intersectionality, meaning her being, it's represented

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

across all of those commonalities or all of those weaves and threads.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

That means something to me, but I can listen to her music

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

right now and only listen as a mother, it takes something away.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Then I can go back and listen to a song as an auntie.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

It takes up the norm.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

So in that way, Her legacy extends across just what she was able to do with her time

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

in the Fugees with Pras and Wyclef just with her time with her first studio album,

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

with the Miseducation of Lauyrn Hill, which had a lot of just remnants based on

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

the miseducation of the Negro by Kurdish.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

And so that means something to me as a professor, to be able to tie those

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

things and those identities together, to be able to say to my students.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Where do you want to be a teacher or not there's still something else on

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

the inside of you, whether it's an emcee, whether it's a painter, whether

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

it's a muralist, whether it's this or.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

That you can bring all those to bear at the same time and introduce those

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

intersecting identities, in your students to help them to understand

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

that they're not out here alone world.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

In addition to that, I believe that she's a woman that is extremely centered in

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

grace and mercy, given her spirituality and given her earlier days with the

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

church and starting her high schools.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

Well, she was in high school.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

There wasn't a gospel choir.

Raven Jones Stanbrough:

She started that, that means something to me.

Eric House:

The two moments that really come out to me are

Eric House:

killing me softly from the Fugees.

Eric House:

And "Sister Act 2".

Eric House:

My name is Eric House.

Eric House:

I am an assistant professor of English at New Mexico state university.

Matt Linder:

And with Stephanie Troutman he coauthored wrecking, patriarchy and

Matt Linder:

capitalism and Lauryn Hill's hip hop

Eric House:

I study and teach classes on black rhetoric and hip hop.

Eric House:

Lauryn's film debut with sister act two, and a lot of ways reflects

Eric House:

her musical and religious roots.

Eric House:

A powerful role that cemented for many listeners, her as an artist

Eric House:

informed by her spirituality.

Eric House:

"Sister Act 2" to which I grew up in the church.

Eric House:

And so I remember when it first came out, we always loved it and

Eric House:

watched it think I was in middle school, middle school or high school.

Eric House:

And we did like this larger Christmas production where like all the youth

Eric House:

in our church, we did the joyful, joyful song in prep for that.

Eric House:

We would just watch that movie.

Eric House:

And over and over, like, I'm the way that Lauryn Hill's

Eric House:

character gets down in that movie.

Eric House:

I kind of resonate with, for different reasons, the whole tension, but you

Eric House:

know, her mom not letting her sing.

Eric House:

The moment when she's singing his eyes on the Sparrow.

Eric House:

And like she's singing it in the moment when one of the other nuns

Eric House:

watches her singing, she just stops.

Eric House:

She's like, because like she was body in that song.

Eric House:

Right.

Eric House:

So like, I relate to that one because once again, her voice

Eric House:

to me is just immaculate too.

Eric House:

I think I struggle a lot with like imposter syndrome sort of things.

Eric House:

When no one's watching you feel like you can sing and

Eric House:

dance and do all these things.

Eric House:

Debatable if we can or not, but it's like the moment when someone

Eric House:

watches you, you're like, and even if you get that positive

Eric House:

affirmation, I can't, I can't do it.

Eric House:

That's kind of a deeper connection, but then going back to joyful,

Eric House:

joyful at the end of that.

Eric House:

That's a very fond memory I have of growing up in the churches.

Eric House:

All of us came together.

Eric House:

I don't know how it sounded to everybody else in the church,

Eric House:

but to me, we rocked it.

Eric House:

You know what I'm saying?

Eric House:

And Lauryn Hill's character was like a lead voice in that song.

Eric House:

Then with the Fugees song killing me softly.

Eric House:

It brought her to an even greater prominence where kids

Eric House:

were looking to emulate her.

Eric House:

So I'm from California, born in California, moved to Tucson,

Eric House:

Arizona where I was raised, when my family first, moved to Tucson.

Eric House:

That's when that song came out, that's when the album dropped.

Eric House:

I remember just being in like summer camps and summer programs, and it

Eric House:

was ages ranged from like four or five years old, all the way to like

Eric House:

middle school, high school places where Tucson youth can really.

Eric House:

Obviously give some summer instruction, summer camp, summer care.

Eric House:

And I remembered that was a song that everyone always wanted to

Eric House:

cover to sing at the little talent shows we did or whatever.

Eric House:

I'm trying to describe what it is about that song.

Eric House:

Any time I hear it now so much so that when you hear the

Eric House:

original I think of Lauryn Hill.

Eric House:

Here, which is kind of funny how those covers work.

Eric House:

Something about that song.

Eric House:

It just stuck with me.

Eric House:

It's mostly the drums in the background.

Eric House:

And then when you get to the course, you get the bass coming in.

Eric House:

And obviously her voice is just immaculate to me.

Eric House:

That's a fond memory I have of this is a new place, but I associate

Eric House:

this new place with this song.

Eric House:

I was really young.

Eric House:

So like, I would see like the older kids singing it.

Eric House:

I'd be like, wow, this is so cool.

Eric House:

Like, this is what it feels like to be an adult in a lot of ways.

Eric House:

It was like a nice transition song for me from one place to

Eric House:

another to really get situated.

Alex Nava:

I am Mexican American from Tucson.

Alex Nava:

This is Alex Nava.

Alex Nava:

I'm a professor at the university of Arizona.

Alex Nava:

I created a class called rap, comma culture and God.

Alex Nava:

Finishing a book on hip hop and the intersections of African-American

Alex Nava:

and Latin American cultures.

Alex Nava:

But, you know, increasingly the role of religion.

Alex Nava:

And I appreciate those collaborations.

Matt Linder:

Alex, here is speaking of the song "To Zion" and no

Matt Linder:

collaboration is more important on Miseducation then Lauryn's

Matt Linder:

collaboration with Carlos Santana.

Lauryn Hill:

First of all, I have to give the story of how I

Lauryn Hill:

initially hooked up with Carlos.

Lauryn Hill:

I used to write music, write songs over the years, guitar playing.

Lauryn Hill:

When I was a little kid, I had all his records and, and I would play a "Samba

Lauryn Hill:

pa ti" on the Abraxas album, and then just write rhymes and songs on top of it.

Lauryn Hill:

So I knew Carlos way before he knew me.

Alex Nava:

If you go back to the very early days of hip hop,

Alex Nava:

hip hop was a collaboration of.

Alex Nava:

Latino culture in the Bronx, particularly in the Bronx, Puerto Rican culture, a lot

Alex Nava:

of the traditions there was collaboration among Latinos in early hip hop.

Alex Nava:

And that's often erased in our memories of the role of Latinos in the culture.

Alex Nava:

And certainly like in the B-boying tradition and graffiti writing, I mean,

Alex Nava:

those aspects of hip hop culture were heavily influenced by Latinos and.

Alex Nava:

Even believe it or not.

Alex Nava:

If you look at the history of salsa music.

Alex Nava:

Salsa now has an odd reputation, but when it was first developing,

Alex Nava:

it was born in the same time.

Alex Nava:

Early 1970s.

Alex Nava:

The scene time is hip hop, the same basic locations, the south Bronx Spanish.

Alex Nava:

Other parts of that world, Rubén Blades and tons of the great early salsa singers.

Alex Nava:

And, oh, it was a very, very, and this is what surprising people,

Alex Nava:

because again, the reputation of salsa now it's like club music or

Alex Nava:

the stereotypes of like Latin lovers.

Alex Nava:

And back then it was socially conscious music.

Alex Nava:

It was street music.

Alex Nava:

It was a music that was reflecting the abrasive, harsh realities of life.

Alex Nava:

In the barrios it was barrio centric music, but that's

Alex Nava:

completely lost on in light of.

Alex Nava:

So as I see it, I love when there's those kinds of collaborations

Alex Nava:

to Zion has some Santana.

Alex Nava:

You might've seen it as prefiguring even greater collaborations in the future.

Alex Nava:

And I think that has happened in our own time.

Alex Nava:

And it's, I think we're going to see even more of.

Alex Nava:

That's one of the things that you can say that it's followed hip hop,

Alex Nava:

that a lot of times it has been talked about and just black and white

Alex Nava:

terms really, really simplistic.

Alex Nava:

And it basically completely ignores the voices brown and, and also like indigenous

Alex Nava:

voices and experiences and cultures.

Alex Nava:

I mean, basically in Latin America.

Alex Nava:

There's very, very strong themes of Afro-Cuban traditions that are

Alex Nava:

crucial part of hip hop in Mexico.

Alex Nava:

Obviously that the stronger voice is kind of the representation of indigenous

Alex Nava:

cultures and indigenous voice given the role of the indigenous histories

Alex Nava:

and Mexican culture and life and the abusive and oppressive history is

Alex Nava:

that indigenous groups have endured.

Alex Nava:

I hope that we see that more and more of different artists that are,

Alex Nava:

you know, expressing the struggles and the marginalized experiences of

Alex Nava:

not only African-Americans, but of, uh, various other groups as well.

Matt Linder:

Carlos Santana demonstrated the kind of representation that made

Matt Linder:

more of these kinds of cross-cultural musical collaborations possible

Matt Linder:

on miseducation smash hit To Zion.

Matt Linder:

It also infused a sound in the track that would go on to influence other musicians.

Matt Linder:

As Santana said, in 2016, an interview with the San Diego union Tribune quotes.

Matt Linder:

What I learned is that Mexican people have their own frequency.

Matt Linder:

That frequency was heard loud and clear and continues.

Matt Linder:

Every time we hear the opening riffs of Santana's guitar in the song's opening.

Julius Tunstall:

I love the way Carlos Santana's guitar sounds on to Zion.

Julius Tunstall:

I mean, this is going to get into like nerdy world, but like the way it

Julius Tunstall:

sonically feels, the way that guitar was recorded, it feels like the microphone

Julius Tunstall:

is just like there and it's just killing it, like right on the neck.

Julius Tunstall:

And it's just like, so filling.

Julius Tunstall:

My name is Julius Tunstall.

Julius Tunstall:

I'm a 27 year old artist from Asheville, North Carolina and producer and creative.

Julius Tunstall:

For me personally, I'm working on my second album.

Julius Tunstall:

I put out my first album, sir, cries a lot about three years ago.

Julius Tunstall:

And it was just done in my bedroom, really small, tight knit group of

Julius Tunstall:

friends that worked on it with me.

Julius Tunstall:

I mixed it myself.

Julius Tunstall:

I mastered it myself.

Julius Tunstall:

I know that if I want this next album to be more forward-thinking more.

Julius Tunstall:

Accessible for people.

Julius Tunstall:

I just have to bring more people in and focus myself on just the music and then

Julius Tunstall:

let everybody else do things that are better than me and mixing and mastering.

Julius Tunstall:

And so Lauryn hearing that growth is really inspiring to me because it's like

Julius Tunstall:

you see that only a few times between a freshman and sophomore album, you

Julius Tunstall:

would hope that the artist gets better.

Julius Tunstall:

But like for her, there was just a huge, just like.

Julius Tunstall:

Into people being we want an album of just her.

Julius Tunstall:

Can we just have an album of just her.

Julius Tunstall:

Not to downplay the other members of the Fugees from going to spittin'

Julius Tunstall:

a rhyme to singing the hook.

Julius Tunstall:

Like she's special.

Julius Tunstall:

I think every person needs to deal with with that, like the

Julius Tunstall:

idea of success and what is, what are you actually striving for?

Julius Tunstall:

What's the end goal here?

Julius Tunstall:

Cause I have to tell myself everyday when I wake up, I'm like, all right,

Julius Tunstall:

I got four songs I got to work on.

Julius Tunstall:

I got to make some beats for this rapper that wants me to do an EP

Julius Tunstall:

for him or dah, dah, dah, dah, dah.

Julius Tunstall:

And I'm like, this is all the work that I wanted.

Julius Tunstall:

I'm actually working.

Julius Tunstall:

I'm a working producer.

Julius Tunstall:

Am I making all the money that I can to pay all my bills?

Julius Tunstall:

No, but I'm working.

Julius Tunstall:

If you would've told me 10 years ago, Yeah, you're going to be making

Julius Tunstall:

music in your room all the time.

Julius Tunstall:

Now I've been like you're full of crap.

Julius Tunstall:

It's really cool to hear the way that she approached a bigger

Julius Tunstall:

production on miseducation for like the way the drums hit.

Julius Tunstall:

Definitely a pattern, one song specifically, rhythmically

Julius Tunstall:

that I love and is so.

Julius Tunstall:

Is everything is everything.

Julius Tunstall:

The kick is BOM, BOM, BOM, BOM, BOM, BOM,

Julius Tunstall:

like this, like very odd and like everything rhythmically is

Julius Tunstall:

in line with that kick pattern.

Julius Tunstall:

That song is really sick.

Julius Tunstall:

And the way that I was mixed is incredible.

Julius Tunstall:

The way the drums are vocals.

Julius Tunstall:

There's not a lot of reverb on her vocal because modern music

Julius Tunstall:

is covered in so much reverb.

Julius Tunstall:

If you listen to modern music and anything, you know, that Drake or the

Julius Tunstall:

weekend, or anybody honestly is going to be like, I makes music sometimes.

Julius Tunstall:

And like, I catch myself being like, I put way too much reverb on that.

Julius Tunstall:

It's a really cool way in modern music sonically to fill space, but like in the

Julius Tunstall:

nineties, they were like, we're going to leave that space for you to think.

Julius Tunstall:

And now we're like, we don't want anybody to think.

Julius Tunstall:

Nobody needs to think about anything.

Julius Tunstall:

You're going to hear this big 8 0 8.

Julius Tunstall:

That's going to like drag into the next kick.

Julius Tunstall:

And you're going to hear this reverb.

Julius Tunstall:

It's just going to fill out the mix, which is like really cool.

Julius Tunstall:

That's where we're at.

Julius Tunstall:

But sonically miseducation is so forward.

Julius Tunstall:

And so clean sounding it's super inspirational to me because like,

Julius Tunstall:

it's one of the albums that I, I'm definitely going to send to a mix

Julius Tunstall:

engineer and be like, Hey, the way those drums hit, if you could just.

Julius Tunstall:

Make sure mine hit the same way.

Julius Tunstall:

I mean, it's influenced me greatly, like to be able to hear the different

Julius Tunstall:

genres in the album, the reggae, the doo-wop, the hip hop, the R and B, and

Julius Tunstall:

then the folk like twinkled in there sometime it makes me feel more normal.

Julius Tunstall:

Uh, black, creative to be able to do all these things and do it unapologetically

Julius Tunstall:

because I feel like too many times when I was growing up, I literally was like,

Julius Tunstall:

I'm going to push every stereotype away.

Julius Tunstall:

Like I'm not going to do RNB music.

Julius Tunstall:

I'm not going to, I'm going to be a folk artist.

Julius Tunstall:

And I would just sit and play sad songs about girls that didn't like me.

Julius Tunstall:

Acoustic guitar.

Julius Tunstall:

And those things actually like are really big part of who I am,

Julius Tunstall:

but I stopped singing the way that I naturally wanted to sing.

Julius Tunstall:

And for that, I want to go back in time and kick myself in the balls.

Julius Tunstall:

Miseducation is such an open door into.

Julius Tunstall:

The fact that black people should have been getting noticed for all these genre

Julius Tunstall:

bending things that we were doing early.

Julius Tunstall:

And she did it and packaged it in a way that was so well done that

Julius Tunstall:

I couldn't help, but like give her all the Grammy nominations, all

Julius Tunstall:

the accolades, she focused on the task at hand and she delivered.

Julius Tunstall:

I wish I had more from her, but we have what we have.

Julius Tunstall:

Then we can just enjoy that people that are higher up and like looking at these

Julius Tunstall:

artists and pushing them into their breaking points and not really caring.

Julius Tunstall:

It's a crazy thing.

Julius Tunstall:

I can't imagine.

Julius Tunstall:

I'm just a guy that lives in Asheville that wants to like, make a little bit more

Julius Tunstall:

money doing music so I can support myself.

Julius Tunstall:

And my family, me even saying like, I want to make a little bit more money.

Julius Tunstall:

Like that's part of the wheel you're stuck in.

Krystal Roberts:

You know, what stood out to me from Julius.

Krystal Roberts:

How Lauryn's music caused him question his, why it, in question like the

Krystal Roberts:

reasons he was doing, what it was doing, you know, it got into his truth

Krystal Roberts:

about making music, how he makes music.

Krystal Roberts:

And I think where that reflects or what it demonstrates is how Lauryn in

Krystal Roberts:

her music and message, it demonstrates how Lauryn sort of causes you to

Krystal Roberts:

think, assess to get to the purest form of whatever you're doing.

Krystal Roberts:

Whatever you're feeling or experiencing for Julius.

Krystal Roberts:

That was and how he makes music.

Krystal Roberts:

So I feel like one of the most powerful influences that Lauryn's music and message

Krystal Roberts:

has is that it really encourages the listener to exercise personal agency.

Krystal Roberts:

A sense of like self-responsibility.

Krystal Roberts:

And I feel like for Julius, that's what Lauryn did for him and made him

Krystal Roberts:

go inside and kind of understand what he was doing and why it was doing

Krystal Roberts:

so that it would be true to him.

Matt Linder:

Definitely heard in that too, that questioned.

Matt Linder:

Am I out here to get rich and famous?

Matt Linder:

Or am I out here?

Matt Linder:

Try to be true to myself and my art and express who I am

Matt Linder:

through this music and express.

Matt Linder:

Whatever truths are true to me.

Matt Linder:

What is more important even talks about how am I making

Matt Linder:

enough money to get by on this?

Matt Linder:

Not quite, but I'm making a decent amount of money and I'm happy.

Otis Lambert:

What has Lauryn's music meant to me personally?

Otis Lambert:

This is OT the Gold'n Child

Otis Lambert:

I am a father, a husband, podcaster.

Otis Lambert:

I am an MC rapper OT.

Otis Lambert:

Lauryn is one of my greatest artists of all time.

Otis Lambert:

I can always play Lauryn Hill.

Otis Lambert:

I can always play Lauryn Hill, which is reflected in a song like

Otis Lambert:

the sweetest thing I ever know is a masterpiece to me, that's on the

Otis Lambert:

love Jones soundtrack, I believe, but just the sultriness of that beat.

Otis Lambert:

Oh, they're the little guitar.

Otis Lambert:

And then the sultriness of her voice through these things that makes this

Otis Lambert:

person so enlightening to her, your tall, your style of dress, sometimes

Otis Lambert:

I'll watch you when you're in your sleep.

Otis Lambert:

Like just being able to get to connect with that kind of stuff.

Otis Lambert:

Like who hasn't just watched you lovely, like.

Otis Lambert:

Damn, I really lover or damn, you get on my fucking nerves sometiems.

Otis Lambert:

Whenever you that's what, you know, she means to me personally, I'll

Otis Lambert:

always connect with a song like that.

Otis Lambert:

Whenever that song comes on and everything stops, it's like, oh, whoa.

Otis Lambert:

Like, oh my God, you know, you get like, oh my God, her

Otis Lambert:

music to me will be timeless.

Otis Lambert:

It's not often you get an enigma like a Lauryn Hill.

Otis Lambert:

You from the standpoint of where.

Otis Lambert:

Yeah.

Otis Lambert:

She only essentially had one album and yes, she's late for concerts

Otis Lambert:

sometimes, but you know what, though?

Otis Lambert:

Guess what?

Otis Lambert:

What, you know, in 2016, when she came to Chicago and played at the

Otis Lambert:

Ravinia theater, which is like this amphitheater in Chicago, It was packed.

Otis Lambert:

And that not ever going to not happen because she is Ms.

Otis Lambert:

Lauryn Hill.

Otis Lambert:

I mean, she's a once in a generation artists.

Otis Lambert:

That's that's it right there.

Otis Lambert:

That's the word?

Otis Lambert:

She's a Ye that didn't make more albums.

Otis Lambert:

She's a Kendrick Lamar or a Marvin Gaye.

Otis Lambert:

I am not as polished as a singer as her at all.

Otis Lambert:

I don't say first, but just the rawness of the honesty that kind of

Otis Lambert:

writing these types of artists that can give you a Old Jerusalem, I can

Otis Lambert:

give you those X factor type joints and all that, and not being afraid

Otis Lambert:

to any to make a, final hour, right?

Otis Lambert:

Or a forgive them father, like those types of souls in a time where you have to sail.

Otis Lambert:

Obviously the music industry is about a product and being

Otis Lambert:

able to sell your records.

Otis Lambert:

But I don't think she ever compromised who she was for her music and that's something

Otis Lambert:

that's inspiring or something that I definitely can say that I drew from.

Otis Lambert:

Is, I don't care.

Otis Lambert:

I'll be 38 this year.

Otis Lambert:

I'll be dropping the album within the next couple of months.

Otis Lambert:

And the shit that I'm talking about is what I'm talking about.

Otis Lambert:

And hopefully people like it.

Otis Lambert:

And if they don't, that's just how it was feeling when I wrote the shit.

Otis Lambert:

So,

Krystal Roberts:

you know, Otis mentioned Lauryn's rawness and honesty, and

Krystal Roberts:

that's the thing that connects right.

Krystal Roberts:

You know that place.

Krystal Roberts:

So vulnerability that we can't in sometimes don't allow ourselves to

Krystal Roberts:

access so it's like she does it for us and kind of gives us permission to feel

Krystal Roberts:

the things that are true is still good.

Krystal Roberts:

And sometimes that's the very thing we need to confront our

Krystal Roberts:

fears and grow personally and like professionally or in our craft.

Krystal Roberts:

I love that he touched on the courage, the fearlessness.

Krystal Roberts:

Just that commitment to being authentic in that translated for him, people keep

Krystal Roberts:

showing up to her shows, even though they know she's going to be late and she will

Krystal Roberts:

not play her songs the way they are on an album, but they continue to show up.

Krystal Roberts:

And there's a reason for that.

Krystal Roberts:

And regardless of what's happening at those shows, they show up

Krystal Roberts:

because her music actually did what she talked about when she

Krystal Roberts:

said music is supposed to inspire.

Matt Linder:

Right.

Matt Linder:

I really connect with Otis on that too, about her vulnerability.

Matt Linder:

Cause that's what drew me into her music initially.

Matt Linder:

And then just hearing her Unplugged, pushing into that vulnerability even

Matt Linder:

more like connecting me even further into her music and into what she was

Matt Linder:

saying and pondering the things that she's saying, the way her music is.

Matt Linder:

Working in conjunction with what she's saying, the way she's presenting herself.

Matt Linder:

And she's just being her truest, realest self that she's giving us, her listeners

Matt Linder:

ripping the curtain back to allow us into those hurts those good times,

Matt Linder:

those bad times, the love, the anger.

Matt Linder:

Letting just into all those various human emotions that we

Matt Linder:

feel is quite an experience.

Matt Linder:

And as you said, even though when you go to a Lauryn concert, she's

Matt Linder:

starts late every single time.

Matt Linder:

And the arrangements are very different from the album.

Matt Linder:

She's communicating that vulnerability to the audience, and that's why people are.

Matt Linder:

Showing up

Krystal Roberts:

absolutely.

Krystal Roberts:

20 years later, her life, her music, her career, and her impact is being

Krystal Roberts:

studied by academics and scholars.

Krystal Roberts:

There are two books that were written to celebrate the 20th

Krystal Roberts:

anniversary, Joan Morgan's.

Krystal Roberts:

She began this 20 years of miseducation of Lauryn hill.

Krystal Roberts:

And a collection of essays by various authors, including some of

Krystal Roberts:

the contributors to this episode called celebrating 20 years black

Krystal Roberts:

girlhood, the Lauryn Hill Reader.

Krystal Roberts:

There is no lack of scholarship on Lauryn and her work where it's been

Krystal Roberts:

viewed through multiple lenses.

Krystal Roberts:

It's been studied in academic disciplines, such as hip-hop

Krystal Roberts:

studies, where we have work from Dr.

Krystal Roberts:

Imani Perry professor of African-American studies at Princeton university, where she

Krystal Roberts:

examined Lauryn's lyrics in her 2004 work Prophets of the hood politics and poetics

Krystal Roberts:

and hip hop, gender studies through the work of professor Patricia Ann, where

Krystal Roberts:

she analyzed, how Lauryn's lyrics reflect the ethics of Alice Walker's womanism.

Krystal Roberts:

Religious and theological studies with scholars like associate

Krystal Roberts:

professor of evangelism, Dr.

Krystal Roberts:

Ralph Watkins, who looked at the miseducation of Lauryn hill and

Krystal Roberts:

emphasize what is inherently good and redeeming it, hip hop and rap music.

Krystal Roberts:

And he used that culture as a lens that opened up the power of the Bible

Krystal Roberts:

from industry to a generation in his book, Hip hop, redemption, finding

Krystal Roberts:

God in the rhythm and the rhyme.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Several years ago was interested in who were the women doing

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

RnB and doing rapping, doing hip hop.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I think that's when I first selected some of her music.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

This is Dr.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Cheryl diggin.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I'm a retired professor from shell university divinity school, intellectual

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

scholar artist, a performer and 25 plus published books Cheryl wrote a comparative

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

analysis between Lauryn and Tupac.

Matt Linder:

The live analysis is the Theopoetic, theological

Matt Linder:

ethics of Lauryn Hill and Tupac.

Matt Linder:

And creating ourselves, African Americans and Hispanic Americans on popular

Matt Linder:

culture and religious expression.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Both of them are very, very bright person.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Lauryn is a go getter.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

She's always driven, always had a tremendous faith in God, because of

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

her upbringing with her parents, it was always determined to succeed.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So you've got a person who at one time as a straight a student, she's

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

also an actor and she's also recording artists all at the same time.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So I was intrigued also by use of scripture, enter music and also clear

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

of her broad based education, because there is metaphors and the various

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

people that she used in the music, especially in this education, I think

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

both prophetically and I think poetic.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And there's also a poet that my last book was entitled.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Baptized rage, transformed Greece.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I got through so can you.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So I can identify with her because of her use of language.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And she almost does word painting.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

When you listen to it, the music I'm listening to it from two,

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

almost three ways of listening.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

One I'm listening as an artist and performer, that's a house she's saying.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So she has this really cool way of engaging classic

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

RnB standards with hip hop.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And she's able to then the cleave that we're with our own very sort of mellow,

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

almost like an Alto saxophone type voice, then she's very precise on her words.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Therefore, she's able to both use the music to create a sensibility.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So if you're only listening to the tracks for the melody and the sound

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

without the words, you'd get part of the message with the words on top of the

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

music, you get a more complete message.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I think about it in terms of like, when I did some work on the spirituals that

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I get to see four different multiples, it's like double voicing, like the double

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

consciousness that you have for voice, there was a double music, musicking.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So you've got the words and the meaning from the words and

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

the music and then it together.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

You also have a sense of the theology that's going on.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And so when you look at the issues in Lauryn's life, both leaving the Fugees.

Lauryn Hill:

I'm not paying attention, but that's what everybody else was feeling.

Lauryn Hill:

You know what I mean?

Lauryn Hill:

Perhaps, um, you know, it bothered Pras or maybe it bothered Wyclef,

Lauryn Hill:

that people would say that I would go solo and I didn't know it wasn't.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And when she relied on her, since she's been a racist, I think

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

that it was probably taken out of context.

Lauryn Hill:

What I was saying is that I make my music for young black

Lauryn Hill:

youth because I'm a young black youth, myself . And that's for people who look

Lauryn Hill:

and come from the same areas that I do.

Lauryn Hill:

That doesn't mean that my music is a universal.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And her decision to keep Zion and have her daughter,

Lauryn Hill:

I think motherhood has influenced my life.

Lauryn Hill:

You know what I'm saying?

Lauryn Hill:

Just in general.

Lauryn Hill:

Um, I always say that Zion had the most to do about my miseducation

Lauryn Hill:

because it was like, he, he revived me, you know what I mean?

Lauryn Hill:

He, he was like, God sent him to revive my spirit.

Lauryn Hill:

Like you see this kind of double bind where she stands out.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

She holds her own truth without apology.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And I think that's one of the strongest things that I see in her that comes

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

across in the way she understands freedom.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Really she understands justice and the way she understands love, she's

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

not always be true to herself.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

That's one of the places where we've connected is I've always had a sense that

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

this is who I am and this what I'm doing.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Like her I've always been God directed.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So even when my late husband proposed, I didn't say yes until I said God, okay.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I knew I liked this man.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I think I love him.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Am I supposed to marry him?

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Give me a sign.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

God being a sing and I say yes, the same way with my most recent job, didn't matter

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

whether I needed a job or wanted a job.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

God, is this the job I'm supposed to take?

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Gave me an actual sign on the side of the road.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And still like Lauryn with all very much God driven.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

Now, there are some ways in which we aren't exactly like, I mean,

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

she's had an international career.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I haven't.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

But I'm a musician.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So the other differences that strong engagement where God is very, very present

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

on daily basis and theory concrete way.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

We definitely share that.

Matt Linder:

Cheryl actually shows us, where are we going with this podcast.

Krystal Roberts:

If we listen carefully, Lauryn Hill's message

Krystal Roberts:

hinges on love, freedom and justice.

Krystal Roberts:

And while we might not have looked at these three themes as separate

Krystal Roberts:

and deserving of individual analysis, if we're to understand Lauryn's

Krystal Roberts:

music more fully, it almost demands that we see them as interdependent.

Krystal Roberts:

Or even as a product of the others as Dr.

Krystal Roberts:

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan points out.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

I've listened to the title song Miseducation.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And she also has a song called freedom time, and then also listened to, to Zion.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

And when it hurts so bad, and I looked at her understanding that these three

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

concepts of freedom, love, and justice, and these components really are into.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

So you could start with any one of them because you can start

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

with her understanding of freedom.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

You're going to move toward love for Lauryn.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

You cannot be free.

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

If you don't know love, we cannot experience justice if you don't know

Cheryl Kirk-Duggan:

freedom and it's vocally present in her music and it's present in her life

Krystal Roberts:

And love is the foundation of it all for Lauryn Hill.

Krystal Roberts:

Conform to love to actually be love incarnate to be love incarnate

Krystal Roberts:

because that's what I was before.

Krystal Roberts:

And to not listen to people who might say that love something's

Krystal Roberts:

wrong with being loved.

Matt Linder:

I too discovered Unplugged later on.

Matt Linder:

It was about a decade after it was released.

Matt Linder:

I was really enraptured with how different her sound was on that album

Matt Linder:

that she was, as she jokingly says at one point a hip hop folk singer.

Matt Linder:

But I was also struck by the interludes that acted sort of like these sermonettes

Matt Linder:

and the way the audience interacted with her in those moments, as well as the song.

Matt Linder:

It felt very much like being at church, you know, a lot of amens and

Matt Linder:

hallelujahs coming from the audience.

Matt Linder:

I took a deeper look at the lyrics of the songs.

Matt Linder:

And I came to realize how deeply theological is these songs were.

Matt Linder:

I'm like, whoa, she really is trying to teach people something today.

Matt Linder:

And I was so blown away by the deep seated spirituality of it all.

Matt Linder:

And myself got a bit emotional at times, just listening to the

Matt Linder:

performance, backing up a bit unplugged.

Matt Linder:

Wasn't my first introduction to her.

Matt Linder:

Like a lot of teenagers in the nineties.

Matt Linder:

I watched a ton of MTV after school and the Fugees killing me softly and ready

Matt Linder:

or not wear super, super heavy rotation.

Matt Linder:

I wouldn't say that at the time I was a Fugees or even a rap fan.

Matt Linder:

I was raised on classic rock from the fifties, sixties and seventies.

Matt Linder:

And then also a little bit of eighties synth pop.

Matt Linder:

The blackest music we had in my household was Michael Jackson.

Matt Linder:

Everyone in 80s was listening to Michael Jackson, whether

Matt Linder:

you're black, white, brown.

Matt Linder:

So, because what I been exposed to all my life was just rock music and pretty

Matt Linder:

much the white hippy stuff of the sixties, the central set that my dad

Matt Linder:

listened to that when the whole grunge and alternative scene came out in the

Matt Linder:

nineties, I embraced that scene extremely hard as my own, to be really honest.

Matt Linder:

I looked down on hip hop in the early nineties when I was in middle school for

Matt Linder:

a white teen growing up in suburbia in the nineties, like me, that was probably,

Matt Linder:

you know, a pretty common experience.

Matt Linder:

But even with those biases, I had positively towards rock music

Matt Linder:

and natively towards hip hop.

Matt Linder:

I still had a sense there was, you know, something unique and special about Lauryn.

Matt Linder:

So the day that miseducation dropped actually went to my local record stores.

Matt Linder:

Shoutout Dimple records, rest in peace.

Matt Linder:

And I bought the miseducation of Lauryn hill.

Matt Linder:

I immediately went into my car after that popped my CD into my discman

Matt Linder:

with the cassette converter, because I did not have a CD player in my car.

Matt Linder:

I listened to it over and over and over and over again.

Matt Linder:

Lauryn just made me realize what I had been missing out on by

Matt Linder:

choosing not to listen to hip hop.

Matt Linder:

And so from my experience with miseducation, I went on to learn about the

Matt Linder:

roots, mos def, common, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, but do all those neo-soul artists.

Matt Linder:

And then from there, I then went back to the golden era of hip

Matt Linder:

hop to better understand and appreciate the genre as a whole.

Matt Linder:

For me.

Matt Linder:

Lauryn is extremely special because she was a catalyst for

Matt Linder:

my lifelong love of hip hop.

Matt Linder:

Her impact has been so huge on me, that my youngest daughter is