They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Lauryn Hill cover art for episode 57 of the They Reminisce Over You Podcast

Aug 25, 2023

Episode 57: Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th Anniversary

Episode Summary

This week, we're discussing the 25th anniversary of Lauryn Hill's solo debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This classic album was released on August 25, 1998, and features a number of standout tracks like "Doo Wop (That Thing)," "Ex-Factor," "Lost Ones," "To Zion" and more. She won five Grammy's for this album, making her the first woman to win five or more in one night, including the Grammy for Album of the Year. This was also the first hip hop album to win Album of the Year. We explored explore Lauryn's work with The Fugees and her career leading up to what would become a hip hop and R&B classic, and its lasting impact on the world of music.


Miguel: This is They Reminisce Over You. I'm Miguel.

Christina: And I'm Christina. And today we're gonna talk about someone whose first TV appearance was on Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in 1988, when she was just 13 years old. And you know, the Apollo crowd is known for being ruthless right?

Miguel: Very.

Christina: And her being 13 made no difference.

Miguel: They don't care.

Christina: She was almost immediately booed, but she was, or at least she appeared, unfazed. She kept singing her song, and she eventually won over the crowd. By the end, they were cheering for her and she even got some standing ovations.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: So, obviously they didn't know who she would become at the time, but now we all know her as Ms. Lauryn Hill.

Miguel: Yes. Make sure to add the "Ms."

Christina: Ms. Lauryn Hill. Okay. And today is the 25th anniversary of her critically acclaimed album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. 25 years. Did you hear me?

Miguel: I heard you and I'm just doing the math in my head and I don't really wanna talk about it.

Christina: Why? Because it makes you feel old.

Miguel: Exactly. I remember exactly where I was when this came out.

Christina: So, that 13 year old who got booed, she was laughing at them 10 years later with this album.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: All right. Shall we get into it?

Miguel: Let's do it.

Christina: Let's do it.


Christina: So, as you can see in this performance, despite getting booed, she kept going. A little bit after that, in high school, around 1991, she was approached by Pras Michel. I don't know how to say his last name. I'm assuming it's "Michelle"—

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Because he's Haitian.

Miguel: He's Haitian, yeah. Just assume that it's French.

Christina: Yes. So, he approached her, to be a part of a group that he was putting together, which also included his cousin Wyclef Jean. So, they were initially called the Tranzlator Crew. Because they wanted to like rap in different languages, but I guess they decided let's change our names to the Fugees, which if you haven't figured it out, it's short for refugees, which I think is a good decision, ‘cause I don't know about the Tranzlator Crew.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Unless we're just like, used to hearing the Fugees now. But I don't know.

Miguel: I think it's that. They probably could have been able to pull it off if we were introduced to them that way.

Christina: I guess. But—

Miguel: And it's on the cover of the first album, too.

Christina: It is. This is also around the time that she decided to start learning how to rap, in addition to the singing she was already doing. She was also getting into acting at this time. I remember seeing her in Sister Act 2, but she did a couple things before that. Did you know that MC Lyte had an off-Broadway show that was a hip hop take on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night?

Miguel: I did not know that.

Christina: And Lauryn was in that.

Miguel: And I would like to see it.

Christina: I was trying to find some information on it and there wasn't much. But I'm, I think I'm gonna try to do a deeper dive. ‘Cause I wanna see something about it, even if it's just a little clip or whatever. But, I guess her and MC Lyte had formed some kind of relationship, 'cause prior to that she was also in MC Lyte's video[1] for, "Poor Georgie," which I didn't know until today.

Miguel: I don't remember that either. I'm gonna have to look that up.

Christina: Yeah, she just had like, a, a crew of girls in her video that were just kind of like dancing in the background and, you know, as we loved back in those early '90s, standing on a pile of rubble, you know.

Miguel: So, it's basically kinda like Lil' Kim in Slick Rick's "Teenage Love" video.[2]

Christina: I—

Miguel: She's just barely in it. She gets like one second when they do like a pan of a crowd shot.

Christina: Well, no, she gets a little more time. You can actually see her and stuff.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: But you wouldn't have remembered her if you didn't already know who she was.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: So, she's just like one of the girls in her crew. It's really funny 'cause she's probably maybe like 15 or 16 in that video because I think it was like 1991, '92 or something.

Miguel: That sounds about right.

Christina: Yeah. And, I've been calling this song Georgie Porgy all this time

Miguel: Well, it samples it.

Christina: Yeah, and that's what she says in the song. So, I'm like, "Poor Georgie," that's what the song is called? But anyways, she's, yeah, got a little cameo in there and she was in the soap opera, As The World Turns. I don't know that one, so I can't remember her in it.

Miguel: Yeah. My grandmother didn't watch that one, so I wouldn't have seen it.

Christina: It was Days of Our Lives and Young and the Restless in my household, so—

Miguel: Exactly. Another World.

Christina: I will rely on what Wikipedia told me. But yeah, despite dipping her toes into acting and stuff, things kind of started to take off with the Fugees, and I think this is probably where the majority of us know her from.

Miguel: This is definitely the first thing that I knew her from. Like, I saw Sister Act 2, but I didn't put it together when I initially saw the Fugees and go like, yeah, that's the girl from Sister Act. It was way after.

Christina: Yeah. Like, I didn't, I've never even watched Sister Act 2, so I only know she's in it from just seeing like, clips and stuff. And I'm sure that was after. And I definitely didn't see MC Lyte's Twelfth Night, so…

Miguel: Yeah, I had no idea that even existed until two minutes ago.

Christina: Yeah, so the Fugees is where it all began, I guess. Well, where it officially began? Actually, that was kind of a bumpy start too, because I remember first hearing her in either "Vocab" or "Nappy Heads." I don't remember which one I saw first, but I did not know that the video versions were remixes.

Miguel: Yeah, that was something that we all fell into.

Christina: So, how mad were you when you bought the album?

Miguel: Very. I was not happy at all, and what I found out now, just going back and listening to stuff over the past couple days, is they've added the "Nappy Heads" remix to the CDs like a couple years after. But when I was looking for it, It was nowhere to be found. I had to go back and buy the CD single.

Christina: Yes. And both "Vocab" and the "Nappy Heads" version, uh, album versions are waaaaay different.

Miguel: Yeah. I was not happy.

Christina: So, this album Blunted On Reality, their first album was released in '94, but they recorded it in '92.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So it, it already sounds a little dated.

Miguel: Very.

Christina: And not only that, the album very much sounds like they were all still trying to find their voice. So, it's like, let's just rap the way other rappers that we like, rap. You know what I'm saying?

Miguel: Yeah, it's very, we're trying to be Onyx and, uh Das EFX—

Christina: Naughty by Nature.

Miguel: And Naughty by Nature.

Christina: And all at once.

Miguel: Yeah. It's a lot of screaming.

Christina: Yeah. And even like Lauryn's voice sounds so much younger. She was probably like, 17 when they initially recorded it then. So, she kind of almost sounds like a little boy in a way she already has a deep voice because she sounded younger. She sounded like a teenage boy, just yelling. It's crazy how much you can develop in just like, a few years. ‘Cause by the time the, the "Vocab"[3] and the "Nappy Heads"[4] remixes came out, the video versions they all sound, a little more mature, a little more like, found their own style and stuff.

Miguel: It doesn't even sound like the same group.

Christina: Yeah. So, it, it was quite a shock. And like, the album didn't sell well at all. And I think the only reason why it sold is because we all bought it thinking these remixes were on it because they were never labeled as remixes.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: I think they might be now, but I think that's probably just people uploading to YouTube and putting "remix" in it. But we were never told that.

Miguel: I don't know how true this is, but, and I don't think this could be true because they wouldn't have been given so many videos and opportunities to do a second album. But allegedly, they sold 12,000 copies of that first album.

Christina: Yeah I remember I was reading, I can't remember what the number I, I read was, but it was bad.

Miguel: Yeah, I don't think that would be right. I don't think the record label would give them a second shot after selling 12,000.

Christina: So, so the part that I missed though is what… 'cause it took a while for the album to come out, period. So, who decided to remix those songs? Like, how did that happen?

Miguel: I don't know. I have no idea, but I'm glad Salaam Remi did it because that's what drew me into listening to Fugees. Seeing the videos, and then running out to get the album, and then being disappointed when the songs I wanted to hear wasn't on it. So, I had to take that back. And then buy the actual remixes.

Christina: Yeah. I don't know. I just realized just now I'm like, wait a minute. While I was doing all this reading, I don't know how or why they did it, but I'm glad they did.

Miguel: Yeah. Definitely.

Christina: Because yeah, that first album…

Miguel: It was not very good.

Christina: It was very, let's call it experimental or a learning…there was a learning curve.

Miguel: Yeah, it was them learning how to be artists.

Christina: Yeah. But we could see the progression from the album to those remixes, which was pretty big. So, I'd say that's pretty good to actually improve that much in short, a fairly short amount of time.

Miguel: And then for them to make an even bigger jump from those two remixes to The Score album, it's like night and day. It was a completely different group by the time they came back with "Fu-gee-la".

Christina: Right, ‘cause The Score, they sound, seasoned.

Miguel: Yeah, I watched an interview with Wyclef a couple of days ago, and he was just saying that they were touring in between recording The Score and the end of the last album. So, they were gaining experience and how to actually be artists. So, by the time it came to recording the second album, they knew exactly what they needed to do.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: So, they go into the studio, they're like, this is what we need to do. We're gonna build around this remix that we had with Salaam Remi. And that was the basis of the album. Now, did you know this, the beat for "Fu-gee-la" was for Fat Joe?[5]

Christina: I did not know that.

Miguel: Yes. Salaam Remi said that he made it for Fat Joe. He came to him, said, I need one of those "Vocab" beats. I need one of those "Nappy Heads" beats. Make that for me. He made it and Joe was like, I don't like it.

Christina: Fine then.

Miguel: So—

Christina: Let me go back and give it to them then.

Miguel: Right. And I don't think he actually gave it to them. He said that they were working on the, the follow up, The Score album and Lauryn was like, let me hear that Fat Joe beat again. And they were just playing with it in the studio. They take it over to Wyclef and immediately when he heard it, he jumped up and yelled. "We used to be number 10, now we are permanently one!" And just started—

Christina: Were they even number 10 though?

Miguel: No, they definitely were not. They were probably a number 110 at this point, but that kind of sparked the little freestyle he did at the beginning.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: They write the verses, drop it as a single, and it blows up. One of the greatest hip hop songs of all time.

Christina: And it just, it sounded really different.

Miguel: Yeah, and it came off perfectly because they had all improved. Even though Pras isn't the best rapper in the world, he fits with the two of them. Like, Wyclef's not the best rapper in the world, but he's very animated.

Christina: He has personality.

Miguel: Yeah, that's exactly what it is. And then of course, Lauryn being who she is, it's funny to think that she wasn't originally a rapper because she's so damn good at it.

Christina: Yeah. And her voice is so unique.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: There's a lot of, sing-songy rappers now, and there were other rappers who would sing and rap too, but like, she would sing and she would rap, you know? And, it was different.

Miguel: It's almost unfair for somebody to be able to do that, so well, at the same time. Usually you have a singing rapper or a rapping singer, and they're kind of lower in one area. And she's pretty equal in both.

Christina: And not only that, she would like, switch back and forth seamlessly on the same song. I'm getting ahead of myself. But like on The Miseducation, she sings her own hooks.

Miguel: Yeah. It's Lauryn Hill featuring Lauryn Hill.

Christina: Yeah. So, back to the Fugees. I mean, despite Wyclef's personality being so big, he didn't overshadow her because she was so big and different in her own way.

Miguel: It was obvious that she's the best singer, the best rapper, and most likely the best writer in the group.

Christina: Yeah, and I just sort of realized this, which I'll talk about more once we get to The Miseducation, but I think for me, and probably a lot of people "Killing Me Softly"[6] is one of the highlights of this album, even though I always think of her as a rapper first, but "Killing Me Softly" is just her singing.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: But it still had a very hip hop sound to it.

Miguel: Yeah. The production is very hip hop, but she's just singing over hip hop type samples.

Christina: Yeah. And it's not even like, for example Mary J. Blige, she's an R&B/soul singer with hip hop swagger, but she still feels like R&B. Whereas Lauryn Hill, even when she's singing, it feels like hip hop.

Miguel: Yeah. Everything she does. You still feel that it's hip hop.

Christina: Yeah, so like, she can sing her butt off and I still don't think of her as an R&B act.

Miguel: Exactly. And at this point, she's far and away the best female rapper, and arguably, I'm gonna say top five, male or female. Some people may disagree with that. I'm gonna say she's top five at this point, in 1996, '97.

Christina: Okay. I don't have a list in my mind to agree or not. A, a collection of people at that time, but I'm not gonna disagree. How about that?

Miguel: Sounds good. So, this album at the time, it sold astronomically.

Christina: Yes.

Miguel: At this point in 2023, I think they're somewhere almost 30 million sold globally with this album. And even then it came outta the gate just selling like crazy.

Christina: I have in my notes I got from, I don't know, somewhere, that the album sold 17 million copies, and I'm pretty sure that number was when it was released. Not total, 'cause obviously it's way more now. But you went from selling probably 12,000 copies—

Miguel: Allegedly.

Christina: To like, 17 million.

Miguel: Yeah. That's a big jump.

Christina: Yeah. And I'm sure a lot of those Blunted on Reality sales is probably from people finding them through The Score and being like, oh, they have another album?

Miguel: Yeah, I was reading that in the same article where they said they sold 12,000 initially after The Score came out. It's like 200,000 sold now. So, people—a few people did go back and, and pick it up. I didn't because I was tricked once.

Christina: Yes. I think I might actually still have it. I can't remember. I have to check our—

Miguel: No, I took that shit back.

Christina: I have to check our CD books.

Miguel: But yeah, the album was just banger after banger, and it was really cohesive, the way they weaved the skits in, in between the songs that kind of tied it all together.

Christina: Ridiculous skits.

Miguel: They were. It was intro-ed by DJ Red Alert. He did the intro and the outro, but it starts with "How Many Mics" and it's just like, okay, now we got something. And it just takes off from there. And like I said, Lauryn was just killing it, singing and rapping. Amazing album.

Christina: It is. It's, I would say basically no skips. There's like, you know, some songs that I maybe wouldn't purposely put on, but there's really none that I'm just like, ugh, turn that off.

Miguel: Yeah, same.

Christina: So, for me, that qualifies as a no skip.

Miguel: Yeah, me too, because just listening to it a couple days ago, I, I let it rock two or three times in a row.

Christina: I wouldn't mind skipping some of the skits though.

Miguel: Uh, no, I, I, I need 'em,

Christina: I don't need to hear that more than once.

Miguel: You need to have 'em there so they can just tie the whole thing together.

Christina: I guess.

Miguel: "The rug really tied the room together,[7]" and those are the skits.

Christina: But I guess also though, you tend to like a little more like, goofy over the top stuff in rap, like Redman and Busta Rhymes And it's a lot of that. But the, the "warn the town, the beast is loose," and the "caw caw", it's a lot of antics.

Miguel: Yeah, it worked though. So, coming off of that, she was in demand. There were a lot of guest appearances that she made between The Score and The Miseducation album coming out. Any of those you really were a fan of?

Christina: Pretty much everything, like she was on, "If I Ruled the World"[8] with Nas, which I'm sure our audience knows, so I'm not telling y'all anything you don't know already. But I think that her and Nas together is like, a classic pair.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: The way Mary and Method Man, Nas and Lauryn.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: That's just like, perfect.

Miguel: Which was evidenced by them performing it at the Hip Hop 50[9] the other night.

Christina: They know everybody wants to see that.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: I was also a huge fan of Common at the time too, so she was on "Retrospect for Life." So, as we see with "If I Ruled the World," she can do sort of these more like, uptempo stuff, but she's also great for really moody songs.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, her singing on this song was just like a perfect match as well, because it's kind of like, an introspective song. It's a little moody. And, um, as I was saying, even if she's singing sort of like, classic soul samples songs and whatnot, there's still something so hip hop still, and I think you can really hear it on this song. "The Sweetest Thing," same thing. The moodiness of it. It was on the, the Refugee Camp All Stars, but it was also on uh—

Miguel: Love Jones.

Christina: Love Jones, which is of course one of my favorite movies and one of our favorite movie quotes. You know what it is? You don't remember? "I'm getting some motherfuckin' toasted oats!"

Miguel: I was just gonna say that, but there's so many from the movie that I was trying to pull out which one you could be talking about .

Christina: What other ones are you talking about?

Miguel: The, the "Blues for Nina" when he's talking about brother to the night and stuff like that. So, I didn't know where you were going with it.

Christina: "I'm getting some motherfuckin' toasted oats!" The one that we say the most.

Miguel: Well, like I said, brother to the night, I didn't know where you were going.

Christina: All right. Yeah. So, her voice, again, as I was just saying, it's perfect for the, the moodiness of that soundtrack. Um… I have no idea who Paid & Live is.

Miguel: Exactly.

Christina: I can't find any information. I've been wondering who they are since 1997. I loved this song. I used to play it all the time. I have no idea who they are. I looked them up—

Miguel: There's nothing.

Christina: And I mean, even in the song she says, "I'm going to need to know a little more about yourself and your family, who's Paid and who's Live?" Please tell me, who's Paid and who's Live?

Miguel: If the streets know, let us know.

Christina: I don't know what they look like—

Miguel: That's all I wanna know is— because how do you get a Lauryn Hill feature in 1997 and no one knows who you are?

Christina: Don't know what they look like. I don't know if they're still alive. I don't know if they're like, her friends, like, who are they?

Miguel: I don't know.

Christina: So, okay, if you don't know what we're talking about, or you do and you just wanna hear the song again, on streaming services. There's like an eight minute "oontz oontz" remix of this.

Miguel: Really?

Christina: Yeah, that's the only, if you look at Paid & Live the only "All My Time" version you can see is this mix. But there's some dude named J.Period. I'm thinking he's like a DJ or something.

Miguel: He's a DJ.

Christina: Right. Okay. He has a best of Lauryn Hill compilation where you could find it on there. But if you search Paid & Live, you're not gonna find it.

You have to search for J.Period. And it's The Best of Lauryn Hill Volume 2. Or you could just find it on YouTube.[10] But I actually have the single, so, one of these days I'm gonna have to rip our CDs, or at least the ones that are like not available on streaming services.

Miguel: What's funny is, I know exactly where that one is, so, we don't have to look for it.

Christina: Yeah. So, I'm with Lauryn, like, who's Paid and who's Live?

Miguel: I don't know. I can't answer it.

Christina: "Where you live and what do you drive?"

Miguel: Oh, man.

Christina: Yeah, there's a couple others. Oh, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You was was in the '97 film Conspiracy Theory with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts, which I remember watching the movie 'cause I think they played it right at the end of the credits. And it was just like, this doesn't fit the movie.

Miguel: At all—

Christina: But I love this song.

Miguel: But that's how hot she was, that she could be on the soundtrack of a movie like this. And it wasn't even actually on the soundtrack, they just played it in the movie and apparently a radio DJ recorded it and leaked it, and that kind of forced the record label to put out.

Christina: Right. Huh. That's funny. Well, I liked it. "Guantanamera." I mean, she's on a song with Wyclef. It just, we've heard that before.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: That's—

Miguel: "Guantanamera" is a banger.

Christina: It is.

Miguel: I will fight for "Guantanamera."

Christina: Uh, the Aretha Franklin song, "A Rose is Still a Rose," didn't hold up for me.

Miguel: I didn't like it then. I don't like it now, but I get it. I understand. She was hot at the time, so—

Christina: And it's Aretha Franklin, so—

Miguel: Yeah, so, she's writing and producing for Whitney. And Aretha, so…

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: I get it.

Christina: So, it's not the worst song in the world, but I wouldn't purposely play it.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But all the other songs, those are like, faves. Oh yeah. This other one you sent me, DJ Skribble, I've never heard that song before. "Keep it Tight."

Miguel: I remember it from back then, I heard it on like, a couple mixtapes and whatnot. And I think it was on his album?

Christina: Okay. I didn't like the beat.

Miguel: Yeah, it was cool. It was very 1996, '97.

Christina: Yeah. She kept busy after The Score, but she was also working on her solo album.

Miguel: And I think that's a good place for us to take a quick break and we'll be right back.

Miguel: And we are back. And now we're gonna talk about the reason that we're here. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, her first solo album that came out on this date, August 25th, 1998.

Christina: I don't believe that that's 25 years ago, I don't believe the math, like this is like, some Yacubian math, like, that's 10 years ago.

Miguel: When you said it, I was counting on my fingers and toes and it's been 25 years unfortunately.

Christina: No. I refuse. There's no way that this album is an adult.

Miguel: It is. It's a grad student.

Christina: Ugh.

Miguel: So, how did you feel about the album when it first came out?

Christina: I mean, I was ready for it.

Miguel: Okay.

Christina: With all the, the stuff that she's been doing. And I think her going solo was, um, kind of expected or like, didn't feel weird because even though she was part of a group, she kind of always stood out on her own.

Miguel: Yeah, it was only a matter of time before she was gone.

Christina: Yeah. So, it wasn't really like, Lauryn by herself sounds weird, you know? So, I mean, I was ready for it, loved it right away. I don't remember, what was the first single?

Miguel: It was "Doo Wop."

Christina: Okay, banger right out gate then.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And I remember the video was like, the video treatment with like, the doo wop side and then like, current day side, so all the people having fun and having parties in the street and stuff.

Miguel: For me, I was okay with the "Doo Wop"[11] single. It wasn't the greatest to me, and I was kind of disappointed with it because it wasn't what I was expecting.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Like, I wasn't expecting the singing and the doo wop style. I was expecting more of The Score and the stuff she had done in between. So, when I heard this, I'm like, eh, all right. This is okay. Hopefully the album will be better. And I get the album—

Christina: "Lost Ones," first song.

Miguel: And it opens with "Lost Ones" and I'm rubbing my hands together, like Birdman. Oh, okay. This is what we getting into.

Christina: She came out swinging.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: "It's funny how money changes situations."

Miguel: Yes. And of course I'm like, who is she talking about? She gotta be talking about Wyclef or Pras.

Christina: And/or.

Miguel: Yeah. Or both of them.

Christina: Yep.

Miguel: So, I just remember running that back a couple times before I even got to the next song.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And then "Ex-Factor"[12] comes in and I'm like, wait a minute, what are we doing here?

Christina: She still hit you with the "it could all be so simple then."

Miguel: Yeah. Like, the production was cool, but I'm like, okay, where's this going? And—

Christina: Don't forget about all the skits in between talking about love.

Miguel: Yeah. So, I'm like, all right, what's going on here? Like, we just had "Lost Ones" and I've heard the "Doo Wop" single, but we getting "Ex-Factor."

Christina: She punched you in the face and then she picked you up and gave you a hug.

Miguel: And just rubbed me on top of the head afterwards. So, to open the album with "Lost Ones", "Ex-Factor," and "To Zion," I was confused as shit. I didn't know what I was listening to at this point. I was still intrigued by it, but it wasn't what I was expecting, if that makes sense.

Christina: Yeah I think so. Like, even though we had some, some singing and, and whatnot from her before, it wasn't quite like "Ex-Factor" and "To Zion."

Miguel: Yeah. Because the singing that she was doing before it was covers it wasn't really like, personal.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: It just kind of fit in with what Fugees was doing.

Christina: Yeah. Like, this sounds like she's lived some life.

Miguel: Yeah. Yeah. There's a lot going on in this song and it's painful it. It's hard to listen to, but yet it's a beautiful song at the same time.

Christina: Like, you could tell in "Ex-Factor," she's going through it.

Miguel: Yeah. So, it's a weird listen. It's a beautiful song sonically, but it's a hard listen.

Christina: You're like, gut wrenched.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Somebody just kicked me in my stomach. And then "To Zion." It's like, I was, I don't know, like, 20 or something at the time, whatever year this was. 19, something like that. I obviously did not have any children 'cause we still don't have children.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: But she's just singing about this child and you're like, I don't get it, but I get it. ‘Cause she's able to convey the emotion. I'm sure if I had a child, I would feel even more deeply about it, but it's like, I don't personally attach myself to it, but I can feel what she's saying.

Miguel: Right. And it kind of has a dual meaning because it's kind of biblical as well, because she could be singing about going to Zion. Which is the way I originally took it until I went back and listened to her. I was like, no, she's singing about a kid here and not like a pilgrimage going to Zion.

Christina: Well she said some lines about people telling her to "be smart," blah, blah, blah, and touching her stomach and all that stuff.

Miguel: Yeah, but I was still thinking it's just metaphors.

Christina: Did we even know she was pregnant at the time?

Miguel: No, exactly. That's why.

Christina: You know how like, we just don't know things for a while.

Miguel: Yeah, this was '97. We weren't seeing people on Instagram every day.

Christina: Internet was available, but not the way it is now.

Miguel: Yeah. So, we didn't know. How was I supposed to know she was actually with child?

Christina: I can't remember if I knew or not.

Miguel: I didn't. I had no idea.

Christina: I do not remember.

Miguel: So yeah, that first run of the first five songs are just great. That's probably the best stretch of music that Lauryn Hill has ever made. Outside of "Fu-gee-la." But one through five. Those are great.

Christina: Are you counting the intro? ‘Cause that's number one.

Miguel: Yes, I am.

Christina: Okay.

Miguel: I'm counting the intro.

Christina: Alright. Yeah, after "That Thing," there's a couple songs that I'm not as in love with, but they're not bad. Like "Superstar," "Final Hour," "When It Hurts So Bad," they don't hit me quite as hard as the, the previous ones. "I Used To Love Him." So, I mean, this is a fitting one for Mary J. to be on because…

Miguel: Of course.

Christina: You know, man troubles. Right?

Miguel: Which is basically what this entire album is. This album is heartbreak, it's anger.

Christina: There's also some joy.

Miguel: There's a little bit of joy and it dips into some respectability politics a little bit too, which I had an issue with at the time.

Christina: I didn't but…

Miguel: Even today it's like, maybe you should've left that one alone. Glass houses. Glass houses.

Christina: Yeah, I didn't really notice that at the time, but, upon further reflection…but, eh.

Miguel: It was okay. It, it didn't bother me enough to not listen to it, but it just made me raise and eyebrow—

Christina: It's light.

Miguel: A little bit like, you? You saying that? All right. But I, I liked it all though. It was a good album to me.

Christina: Yeah. It's a couple more songs. "Forgive Them Father," "Every Ghetto, Every City." Not my favorites, but fine. But then we get a ballad with D'Angelo.

Miguel: And of course you love that one.

Christina: Of course. And it's like a, not only is a ballad, it's very low key.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: It's very like, let's have a picnic in the park kind of ballad.

Miguel: And D'Angelo's not mumbling. You can understand him on this one, so that helps. You know, that's one of my biggest issues with D'Angelo is he is just, [mumbles] and he's enunciating.

Christina: I ain't got no issues.

Miguel: I know you don't.

Christina: I'm like how people, like, when people complain about SZA and SZA fans are like, I know exactly what she's saying. That's how I am with D'Angelo. I know exactly what he's saying.

Miguel: I know what he's saying. I would just like for him to sing a little more clearly every now and then. That's all.

Christina: And just when she slows it down with D'Angelo and then here we go with "Everything is Everything."

Miguel: Yeah, I like that one. That's another one of my favorites on this album.

Christina: Yeah, I think "Everything is Everything" and "Lost Ones" shows what we were probably expecting from her coming out of what we were hearing from what she was like with the Fugees. Those two songs really showcase her talent with like switching between rap and singing.

Miguel: Lauryn Hill featuring Lauryn Hill.

Christina: Yeah, basically. And then she hit us with all these personal ballads.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And then you have "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill," which is another personal song. Was "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" included originally?

Miguel: Yes.

Christina: ‘Cause I couldn't remember if it was or not.

Miguel: Yeah, it's like a hidden track though. It's not listed on the track listing, but it's there. There's two or three songs, I believe?

Christina: Yeah. And then there's, "Tell Him" after that.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So, yeah.

Miguel: Yeah. It was there.

Christina: Even though I said there were a few songs that like, didn't hit me as hard, I would still call this a no skip album as well.

Miguel: Yeah, it is for me, but at the same time, just because of the content, it's a hard listen, and—

Christina: Which one in particular?

Miguel: No, just the whole thing.

Christina: Oh.

Miguel: You know I don't do recreational sadness. And that's basically what this album is. She is in pain and "she's strumming her pain with her fingers."

Christina: I—

Miguel: "Killing me softly."

Christina: I wish the skits were like, on their own tracks because you can't skip through them. And I don't want to hear these school kids talk about love! Like, it makes sense in terms of the theme and like it being like "the miseducation of Lauryn Hill" in this sort of like, classroom theme. But even back then I was like, ugh, I wish I could just skip through these skits. Like, it fits and it makes sense and it's cohesive, but I don't need to hear this every single time I want to hear one of these other songs.

Miguel: Yeah, that's my issue with the entire album is just, it's sad. Sonically, it sounds amazing. The, the theme that it has is sadness, and that fits throughout the album. Like, she's angry, she's hurt. All of that makes sense. And the songs go together. I just don't want to be sad listening to it. And that's the, the issue that I have with it is I wanna have some fun and I don't want to be sad. And that's what this album gives to me. But at the same time, because it is so cohesive and it sounds really good, and she's on point rapping and singing, it's one of the greatest albums of all time.

Christina: It's funny how it's cohesive, even though you switch so dramatically between different types of songs, like, you have "To Zion" followed up by "That Thing."

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: And you're not like, what's going, what's happening?

Miguel: Right.

Christina: It's just like, oh, we're having— feeling another emotion now.

Miguel: Yeah. Basically that's what it is, it's like, okay, I'm upset now, so, grrr. And now I'm sad and now I'm happy 'cause I have a baby and I love my baby. And now I want to talk about all the girls out there who are wearing short skirts because—

Christina: Hey, she had a message to the mens too.

Miguel: Yeah. And then, oh no, I'm hurting again because I just thought about this nigga and, oh, but I got a baby and I got a new boyfriend. So, it's those emotions that kind of tie everything together and make it make sense.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: Yeah, I just don't want to be sad. I, I need joy in my music.

Christina: I hear what you're saying, but for some reason I don't feel that way about like, My Life. That's a sad album, but I love it.

Miguel: It is, but it's, it's not the same as this. Even though that's a painful, hard listen too. It's the production of My Life that kind of hides the pain in it.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: If that makes sense.

Christina: I hear what you're saying. I was trying to think about this album in terms of how I feel about it now. ‘Cause as much as I'm like, oh, I love this song and this one, and it's great. It's no skip, it's a classic. I haven't listened to it in a long time.

Miguel: Same. I hadn't listened to it until yesterday.

Christina: I listened to it today in full, and yesterday I started it a little bit and then I didn't get around to finishing it. So, I started again today and I don't even remember the last time I listened to the album in full. And I don't even remember the last time I even listened to like, you know, some of my favorite singles. So, I've been thinking about this, like, why is that? Because after listening to it in full, now I'm like, okay, I remember why I loved this album so much, but I don't think I'll be putting it on again anytime soon.

Miguel: Well, I told you why I won't be putting it on anytime soon, but that doesn't mean that it's a bad album.

Christina: No. Not at all.

Miguel: Usually when I do that, I don't want to hear it anymore, but this is something like, I would say you need to listen to it like, once a year to appreciate it.

Christina: Yeah. I think for me it kind of almost feels like an old friend that you used to be like, really close to and you just don't talk anymore. No reason in particular, like, just whatever that point in your life is done.

Miguel: When you see 'em, it's a good time.

Christina: Yeah. But then you're like, all right, bye.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: You're not a part of my life anymore until—

Miguel: There's no ill will or anything.

Christina: the next time we bump into each other, or—

Miguel: Run into them at the mall.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Okay. I get it. That makes sense.

Christina: That's the best way I can— because I can't, I don't really have a reason for not wanting to listen to it again. It just, it just doesn't feel relevant to me, to me anymore. Don't get mad, folks. I'm not saying it's not relevant, it's relevant to the culture.

Miguel: Yeah, it's relevant to the culture and people are still getting their heart broken, breaking up with people, and going through all of that stuff. Maybe that's the reason. Because you're married now.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: And you're not 19.

Christina: And you're, you're not putting me through something that I need to listen to "Ex-Factor" for. I think so. And I think, this album was also like—I ain't gotta talk about this too much, but I was in a relationship at the time and so, I think…left all that behind.

Miguel: Right. So, that makes sense.

Christina: So, yeah.

Miguel: Yeah. Like I said, for me, I just can't do the recreational sadness. I need a little bit of joy in my life.

Christina: Yeah, as I was saying, I feel like as we're talking about this more, I think this album was just more, connected to like, things going on in my life. Whereas maybe other old albums I listen to, yeah, I'm connected to it in the sense that, like, I grew up listening to it as a teenager, so I'm emotionally attached to it, but it's not attached to any sort of like specific event.

Miguel: Right.

Christina: Other than this was what I was listening to as I was forming my personal taste. Whereas I think this one feels a little more specific to a specific time.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: So yeah, I don't have anything bad to say about it, but I just probably won't be listening to it anytime soon.

Miguel: Yeah, I'll, I'll listen to it on the anniversary next year. This is a, a once a year type thing for me.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: But like I said, I can acknowledge that it's one of the best albums of all time.

Christina: Definitely.

Miguel: Even if it is depressing as hell.

Christina: But that's what people need sometimes though. Art can be many things and, sometimes you need sad emotions too.

Miguel: Yeah. You know what? I just figured it out when you said that My Life doesn't hit you the same way that this one does. With these songs, Lauryn sounds like, I'm hurt and I can't get out of it. Whereas Mary is like, I'm hurt and I'm tired of this shit.

Christina: So, there's hope.

Miguel: I'm gonna, I'm gonna let you know that I'm tired of you and your shit. Whereas Lauryn's hurt is more like, you really ruined my life.

Christina: She's devastated.

Miguel: Yeah. So, I think that's the difference. Whereas Mary was like, I'm out for revenge.

Christina: I'm gonna hit you with my car.

Miguel: Yeah, that's it. Mary's out for revenge. Whereas Lauryn is still emotional about it. Maybe if she had gotten to another album, we would've gotten her version of My Life.

Christina: Yeah, I see what you're saying.

Miguel: But we're not there yet.

Christina: I see.

Miguel: So, how do you think this album fits, even though we've spoken about it a little bit today versus 1998? Or is it the same? Is it different? I don't know. Let me know.

Christina: I think that if someone, Is listening to it for the first time in 2023, they can still enjoy it. So, I think that shows the mark of what is a classic album. That, can it still be enjoyed today with a fresh listen. And even though I can't really say there's anybody that's really like her, that came after her, I think her influence is noticeable.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: Like I'm sure all the girls and even the, the guys actually, a majority of them will say that they listened to her growing up or they looked up to her or were influenced by her. Even if there's not, I can't really think of anybody who could sing and rap the way she does.

Miguel: Because no one can. There's a lot of people who try. Drake. But nobody can do it to that level.

Christina: With her mic on.

Miguel: Yeah. I don't want to get too deep into Lauryn Hill post-this album because we all know that there's been some issues.

Christina: I actually was gonna ask you if you think, and I don't really wanna get into it too much, but I was gonna ask if you thought that maybe these antics may have tarnished her legacy. ‘Cause I think maybe it tarnished—

Miguel: I can say a little bit.

Christina: A little, I wouldn't say tarnish, but like, I'm probably not gonna buy tickets to a show.

Miguel: Oh, I'm definitely not doing that.

Christina: I would only do that if it's like, an ensemble show.

Miguel: Yeah, I'm definitely not going to see her. She's been here a couple times and I've passed on all of them.

Christina: Yeah. So, I'm, I'm a little bit scared about that, but…

Miguel: I wouldn't say that she's tarnished her legacy. I would say more that she, she really doesn't have a legacy because it's only the one album.

Christina: [sigh] Yeah.

Miguel: Technically, the, the Fugees albums as well. But she only has the one album, so, I don't think she's ever gonna tarnish that because it's so great.

Christina: Right. On its own.

Miguel: But at the same time, I personally think that Lauryn Hill should be as big as Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga and any other entertainers that have come out from the late nineties through the two thousands, because she could sing, she could rap—

Christina: Act.

Miguel: She could act, she could do everything well, but she just decided to walk away and disappear.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: So, that's my biggest disappointment and I think I mentioned this about somebody else, I don't remember who, but I said before that I selfishly would like them to come back and make albums and make music, but if they don't want to—

Christina: D'Angelo?

Miguel: I just have to accept that. No, it wasn't D'Angelo, it was somebody else. I don't remember. One of the episodes we did. Yeah.

Christina: Because he's basically back, I mean, not necessarily making music. He gave us an album a few years back.

Miguel: Yeah.

Christina: He's been performing.

Miguel: Like, everything was there for her to be the greatest rapper slash entertainer of all time. She has the connection to the Marley family and like I said, sing, rap, act, all of that. She's a songwriter and a producer, so everything was there for her to be the greatest and she just walked away. And it's, it's similar to Andre 3000. Where we know he's great, but the difference between him and Lauryn is, Andre shows up every six months with a verse.

Whereas Lauryn will disappear for five or six years. And then come back on a Nas album. Disappear for another five or six years, and then show up on somebody else's album on the Queen and Slim soundtrack or something. At least Andre gives us a nugget every year. Giving us a little bit of hope that we might get another album. I'm not holding my breath, but it's kind of the same with her. I selfishly would like for her to give us one more album.

Christina: You know what? I meant to listen to the Unplugged and I just forgot, but I don't think I, I liked it anyway, so I think maybe that's why I conveniently forgot.

Miguel: Well, I definitely won't be listening to that. Because that album and the show was a mess, so, I won't be listening to it. And that, that Unplugged era is what kind of gives people the idea of maybe there's something wrong with Lauryn because it was just disjointed and all over the place. And I prefer to remember—

Christina: The Miseducation…

Miguel: Pre-Unplugged Lauryn,

Christina: I mean—

Miguel: The Score and Miseducation Lauryn.

Christina: I guess as an artist, if you're already feeling, you know, a way about the industry or even like, pressure, having that be like release after everyone's been waiting, probably adds to that.

Miguel: Yeah, and it might be a, an anxiety thing just like Andre, because he openly admits that he's anxious about releasing an album because he doesn't think anybody's gonna like it.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: After not making one for so long.

Christina: Right.

Miguel: So, maybe it's that same thing with her. Where she would rather just, you guys keep— "listen to that old shit" as Rihanna's cousin likes to say, and just remember me that way.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: [pause] But I'm definitely not going to see her live.

Christina: Yeah. I'm sorry Lauryn, I ain't doing all that.

Miguel: Even with all that said and saying that she should be given some grace, I'm still not going to see her live.

Christina: I will give her, I'm willing to give her grace in terms of like, you know, wanting to step away or whatever, but, yeah, If I'm paying money, I think I'm gonna need a, a better track record.

Miguel: Yeah. You can't tell me that you need to get your mind and spirit right before you come out and perform. That's what you should be doing two hours before showtime, not two hours after the start time.

Christina: Five hours sometimes.

Miguel: So, I will not be going to see Ms. Lauryn Hill perform live, but I will still listen to the music.

Christina: Once a year.

Miguel: Once a year. I'll listen to the, The Score more than that because I love The Score, but this one I can only do once a year. I can only commit to a once a year listening on the anniversary.

Christina: Okay. I think that's acceptable. Maybe, I don't know. Is it?

Miguel: I think so. All right, so we've been at this for a while. Is there anything you would wanna say to wrap this all up?

Christina: Um…

Miguel: In terms of the album.

Christina: I don't think so.

Miguel: Nothing at all.

Christina: Maybe don't bother reading about stuff that's been happening lately, because when we were doing our research, I started seeing like these articles, I'm like, you know what, just don't read that.

Miguel: Yeah, I, I stuck to the good stuff.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: I stuck to the, The Score and this album, I did not go digging through the muck. I stayed away.

Christina: That's all I got to say. Just listen to that old shit.

Miguel: Yeah. I say if you've never heard the album or you know someone who hasn't heard the album, get them to listen to it because we said, these themes still exist. People are falling in and outta love. There's still anger. People are still waving their finger and saying, y'all shouldn't be wearing those pants. And it's a, it's the handbook for side chicks. It's the side chick handbook, basically.

Christina: Side chick handbook?

Miguel: Yeah. Hey, she's singing about a married man on these songs.

Christina: She is… He wasn't always married!

Miguel: He wasn't, but he was when this was happening. But anyway.

Christina: Anyway, anyway.

Miguel: It's time to wrap this up.

Christina: If you've been through some shit.

Miguel: Yeah. If you had a, a rough go of it.

Christina: Or you just enjoy someone who can rap and sing really well.

Miguel: That too. That too.

All right, so, we're gonna wrap this up here. Thank you again for listening to They Reminisce Over You. We do this every two weeks, or we try to do this every two weeks, but summertime has been hit and miss 'cause we've been out enjoying life. So, we'll be getting back to a more consistent schedule in the fall.

Christina: Maybe.

Miguel: Maybe. No promises.

You can check out our playlists, our show notes, all that good stuff at Sign up for our monthly newsletter called Liner Notes. It comes out around the first of the month, usually between the first and the third, depending on what day it is. I don't like to send it out on weekends, so, you know, first and the third, somewhere in there. slash liner notes [it's actually]. It's got all sorts of fun stuff in there, so check it out. I can't think of anything else that I usually say here. Oh, go to Tee Thang. We have a store. So, you can buy yourself some merch.

Christina: T-shirts and mugs and whatnot.

Miguel: Get some t-shirts, hats, all the goodies at That's T E E T H A N G dot com. Nuthin' but a Tee Thang. And that's all I got. So, I think we can get outta here 'cause I think I need something to eat.

Christina: Sometimes we try to do it before dinner. Sometimes we do it after dinner and then we get the sleepies.

Miguel: Yeah, so.

Christina: Yeah.

Miguel: Maybe we should—

Christina: It's always something.

Miguel: Record while we have dinner.

Christina: No. Then we'd have those mouth smack. Ugh. You know, I hate mouth smacking noises. Yuck.

Miguel: Oh, so yeah, that's all. And we'll be back in your ear holes in two weeks. Bye.

Christina: Bye.