Lauryn Hill is back. I hope.
(Lainey: On Saturday night, Dan, Duana, Sasha, and I went to Lauryn Hill. We may have cried from happiness. Here below are Dan’s thoughts on the show. I am still crying.)
I am a top tier Lauryn Hill fan. I know every song word for word. I can recite every line from Sister Act 2. I even bought the Surf’s Up soundtrack just so I could own the song she wrote for it. In my eyes she can do no wrong. I even love her style! Who else could walk into their closet, put on everything they’ve ever owned all at once, slap on some bright pink blush and walk out of the house with the swagger of a mogul?!
To this day I swear that a reoccurring ulcer I have is due in large part to the distress and heartache she’s caused me since walking away from the music industry so many years ago.
But there’s hope, my friends. She’s coming back. My ulcer is telling me so. Well that and her show at Koolhaus the other night. Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking:
“She’s been coming back for years.”
And yes, rumors of a new record have been swirling since she recorded a slew of emotionally unstable tunes for her MTV Unplugged album….which I own and cry to on the reg. But those were the dark days.
Last Saturday night Lainey, Sasha, Duana and I saw her perform live at the OneXOne benefit concert in Toronto and it was nothing short of a religious experience. I could have sworn at one point there were tears welling up in Sasha’s eyes. (Lainey: there were) And that girl is the emotional equivalent of the Dowager Countess.
Lauryn was on fire. She sings with a passion that was infectious. She appeared clear-headed and on time. (Lainey: before midnight is ON TIME, ok?) And she looked great in a simple black dress with embellished gold shoulders. She didn’t seem angry like she has in the past. Instead, she was genuinely happy to be there. She even brought her kids up on stage, passing the mic to her son who rapped a few original verses. Given his pedigree, he didn’t disappoint.
Now this Lauryn is a different Lauryn from her Miseducation days; her act is less polished but more involved. She sings with feverish speed and raps so fast she could blow Nicki Minaj out of the water. Watching her on stage is like watching a conductor in front of an orchestra. Rarely satisfied, she communicates with her band via a series of erratic hand gestures until she achieves the sound that she wants. (Lainey: this is entertainment in and of itself. Basically she is scolding them for not being able to keep up with her brilliance.)
She sang her hits but they’ve been reinterpreted into new and surprising reincarnations. Hence why some people who showed up expecting to hear her sing the classics like how she originally recorded them were sadly disappointed. I was obsessed. I mourned the old Lauryn years ago and have since accepted her new persona with open arms. She’s totally unapologetic, completely badass and if Saturday night was any indication, she’s more than ready to reclaim her crown as the Queen of Hip Hop.
Photo from Toronto Life