I ran across an AMAZING video of Lauryn Hill earlier this week via Concrete Loop. In the video, which was filmed 10 years ago, Lauryn Hill speaks to High School students about her career, childhood and more. Lauryn was 25 years old at the time and at the peak of her career but she was also at the turning point where she wanted to try something new with her music. I found her speech to be incredible and it gave a lot of insight into why she never really made a follow up album as well as her thoughts on the music industry. Check out a few highlights:
I can make money very easily, I can make records that are self indulgent and basically self-promote me …I can do that and promote myself. Lyrically as an emcee that stuff comes easy but in order to promote something higher, I feel now at the ripe old age of 25 that the only thing that I can do is serve others. Because there are people who haven’t reached that point in their walk …Yes, there is a little anger, resentment because you raise a standard especially when you do it and make some noise. You do it and people listen to what you have to say and people are bumping it on the radioand you’re saying something that holds a mirror to a lot of the negativity and self-indulgent things and messages of other people. But we are all young and I have a hard time being so hard on the music world, especially hip hop because we come out of the hood at 17 years old having no clue or concept of what life really is. Because hip hop is so fast and changes so quickly by the time they do get a concept they are no longer making records. I’ve been put in this unique position and I have this very unique responsibility that God has made me aware while I still have the mic.
I always thought that the matrix was battling the enemy out there. Until I realized, until you conquer the enemy in yourself, you can’t deal with anyone. In order to be used by God, you really have to be used. We always want to be used for the glorious jobs …God put me on a stage, in front of the people at a Grammy show and a nice dress on…let me just praise your name. But that’s not being used, sometimes in order to be used you have to also be humiliated, you have to be kicked and beaten. And in that situation, the person who is kicking and beating..he’s feeling more pain than you are.
As a musician today, I’m not in the studio right now and everybody in my world thinks I’m crazy. What’s going on? You need another album out. The time is running out, you have a certain window to make music. For a little while I listened to that and I was in the studio working real hard trying to get it done. Music was created, definitely music I think people would appreciate but it wasn’t my best. It wasn’t my best because there was no substance and there was no substance because there was no experience. I’d gone from the studio to the stage, back into the studio again. The only reason why “The Miseducation” was the album it was because merited of experiences that took place before the production part, before the creation. What I realized was I can’t create and not live, I can’t be in this vacuum of creativity without life.
In hip hop, we’re all trying to get to this next level without the next level finding us. Life is like peaks and valleys. Some people explain that as good times, bad times. But I actually think its learning, mastership, learning, mastership or study, mastership, study, mastership. I went form the top of one mountain, I’ve mastered something and people appreciated it. Once you’ve been on top on that mountain, you have to move this way but in hip hop people are like, I’m not moving….I’m the master, I’m great, I’m dope, I’m here, I’ve arrived, I’m not going anywhere! That’s when you stay stuck on one hill, one mountain. God’s intention is that we study and master a bunch of things. So here I am descending this hill and everybody is like “Where are you going, we’re suppose to be on top of the hill?” But it’s an exciting time, definitely an exciting time for me because I’m at the foot of another hill. This hill is totally different, navigated differently but I get to learn. Once you learn and you go through that, you’re on the top of another one.
I would encourage everyone to never be afraid of not knowing…find out because that’s how you get to mastership. Let’s not be mediocre in our greatness. Think big and think in doses and think in experiences and don’t be afraid of experiences that teach you