How "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" Made History
Every year, 13th Librarian of Congress James H. Billings adds 25 new sound recordings to the national registry under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 that have either been recognized for their cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society and the nation’s audio legacy and are at least 10 years old. The nominations were advised by the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB). According to Library of Congress' website, on March 25, 2015, one of the many amazing works named was that of R&B singer/songwriter and rapper Lauryn Hill.
Her late August 98' debut solo album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" was released by Ruffhouse Records and Columbia Records and its title was inspired by Carter G. Woodson's The Mis-Education of the Negro, combined with the film and autobiographical novel The Education of Sonny Carson according to the wiki. While touring with the rap group Fugees, featuring herself, Wycleff Jean, and Michel, she reportedly gained inspiration for the album after meeting son of reggae star Bob Marley, Rohan, and becoming pregnant with his child. She explained that in the way that some pregnant women grow physically in their nails and hair, she grew creatively and was able to tap into a higher level of her own emotional being.
Rising to number one on the Billboard 200 chart, five Grammys including Album of the Year, and eventually selling over 8 million copies is nothing to shake a stick at when it comes to a debut album. But when you culminate that with her being recognized by the United States Government for essentially creating a musical mural of a culture that is all too often diminished in importance by the very same entity of it's more recent praise, I think we have what I'd like to call a transformation taking place- very surely. I myself almost busted my mother's cassette tape player playing the album on repeat as a youngster.
It wasn't just the beats and well constructed hooks that made this album a legend. It was because the product of a raw introspection into a young Jersey woman's heart and soul was enough to break the mold and become registered with the Government as one of the most culturally and historically significant collections of music of all time.
If you're not familiar with Lauryn Hill's abundant talent, check out the video to my favorite song from the acclaimed album below: