Lauryn Hill

9 Feb 2024

Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Noelle Hill, born on May 26, 1975, is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer, often referred to as the "Queen of Hip-Hop." She is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time and is considered highly influential in the music industry. Hill is credited with breaking barriers for female rappers, popularizing melodic rap, and pioneering neo soul for mainstream audiences. Her contributions have earned her numerous accolades, including eight Grammy Awards, the most for any female rapper.

Hill began her career as a teen actress, appearing in various roles including the soap opera "As the World Turns" (1991) and the film "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993), where her performance was widely praised. She gained further prominence as the frontwoman of the hip hop trio Fugees, which she formed in 1990 with fellow New Jersey musicians Wyclef Jean and Pras. The Fugees' second album, "The Score" (1996), topped the Billboard 200 chart and included hit singles like "Killing Me Softly" and "Ready or Not." The album led Hill to become the first woman to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

Hill's solo debut studio album, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" (1998), received widespread critical acclaim and commercial success. It made her the first female rapper to debut atop the Billboard 200 and remains one of the best-selling albums of all time worldwide. The lead single, "Doo Wop (That Thing)," debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. At the 41st Grammy Awards, Hill set the record for the most nominations in one night for a female artist and became the first rapper to win Album of the Year.

In 1999, Hill became the first rapper to grace the cover of Time magazine and received a President's Award from the NAACP for her humanitarian work. She continued to collaborate with other artists, producing and writing songs for Mary J. Blige and performing on Santana's album "Supernatural."

Despite her early success, Hill dropped out of the public eye after releasing her live album "MTV Unplugged No. 2.0" (2002). She has since released singles periodically. In 2014, "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" was selected for the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress, marking a significant achievement for female rappers in music history.

Lauryn Noelle Hill was born on May 26, 1975, in East Orange, New Jersey, to parents Valerie Hill, an English teacher, and Mal Hill, a computer and management consultant. She grew up alongside her older brother Malaney, born in 1972. Hill's family initially moved to New York before settling in South Orange, where she was raised in a musically oriented environment.
Both of Hill's parents were involved in music; her father sang in local nightclubs and at weddings, while her mother played the piano. Hill was surrounded by music from a young age and listened to a variety of artists, including Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Gladys Knight. She developed a deep appreciation for music, often falling asleep to Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."

During her middle school years, Hill's musical talent began to emerge. She performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" before a basketball game, which became popular among the audience. In 1988, she appeared as an Amateur Night contestant on It's Showtime at the Apollo, where she sang Smokey Robinson's "Who's Lovin' You," despite initially facing a tough crowd reaction.

Hill attended Columbia High School, where she participated in various activities such as track, cheerleading, and violin lessons. She also founded the school's gospel choir and was recognized as a leader among her peers. Hill excelled academically, taking advanced placement classes and achieving primarily 'A' grades. She was driven to succeed in various fields, including academics, sports, music, and dance.

Reflecting on her education, Hill expressed her passion for achievement in any field she pursued, highlighting her drive to excel in academics, sports, music, and dance. Her diverse interests and leadership qualities marked her as a standout student during her high school years.

Pras, Hill, and Jean renamed their group Fugees, derived from the word "refugee," which was originally a derogatory term for Haitian Americans. Hill initiated a romantic relationship with Jean during this time. The Fugees signed a contract with Columbia/Ruffhouse Records in 1993 and gained recognition for their genre-blending style, incorporating elements of reggae, rock, and soul into their music.

Their debut album, Blunted on Reality, released in 1994, reached No. 62 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart but faced poor sales and critical reviews due to their management's insistence on adopting gangsta rap attitudes. However, Hill's rapping on tracks like "Some Seek Stardom" was noted as a highlight, and her image and artistry placed her at the forefront of the band.

The Fugees' second album, The Score (1996), achieved immense success, peaking at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart and selling over seven million copies in the United States and more than 20 million copies worldwide. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album and received critical acclaim for its departure from the gangsta rap style prevalent at the time.

Singles from The Score, including "Fu-Gee-La," "Ready or Not," and their cover of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry," showcased Hill's versatile singing and rapping abilities. Their rendition of "Killing Me Softly" became a breakout hit, earning Hill the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Hill's vocal prowess and socially conscious lyrics garnered widespread acclaim, solidifying her as a prominent figure in the music industry. Newsweek hailed her as "the most powerful new voice in rap," recognizing her undeniable talent and appeal.


  1.  Luckett, Sharrell (2013). "Lauryn Hill". In Edmondson, Jacqueline (ed.). Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories that Shaped Our CultureABC-CLIO. p. 550. ISBN 9780313393488. Hill's sound fuses hip-hop, soul, and reggae with socially conscious lyrics and helped to usher in the neo-soul movement.
  2. a b * Mutuku, Ryan (August 4, 2020). "15 best rappers in the world right now" – Kenya newsArchived from the original on April 20, 2021. Retrieved March 13, 2021. * "Greatest Rappers Ever – Voted For By You | NME"NME. August 8, 2013. Archived from the original on June 6, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020. * Hill, Lauryn. "The Many Voices Of Lauryn Hill"NPR.orgArchived from the original on May 30, 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020. * Lafontant, Kworweinski (February 18, 2021). "Review: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"Hope College Concert Series. Archived from the original on November 1, 2022. Retrieved March 13, 2021. * "The 50 greatest rappers of all time – ranked"gigwise.comArchived from the original on September 24, 2020. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  3. ^ Lowry, Brian (December 10, 1993). "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit"Variety. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  4. ^ Hess, Mickey (2007). Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-33902-8Archived from the original on May 26, 2023. Retrieved May 26, 2023.
  5. ^ "2014 | View Registry by Induction Years | Recording Registry | National Recording Preservation Board | Programs | Library of Congress"Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  6. a b Nickson, Chris (1999). Lauryn Hill: She's Got That ThingSt Martin's Press. pp. 13, 148. ISBN 0-312-97210-5.
  7. a b c d e "Lauryn Hill Biography and Interview"achievement.orgAmerican Academy of AchievementArchived from the original on February 20, 2019. Retrieved April 3, 2019.

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