Lauryn Hill issues an open letter regarding her very public legal battle and the recording agreement she has reached with Sony Worldwide Entertainment – a deal that will reportedly find Hill heading her own label. The public response from the singer follows a barrage of media coverage related to her recent sentencing hearing on charges of tax evasion. Rumors of the deal’s worth have estimated the official figure at around one million dollars – an inaccurate number according to Hill. Public speculation has suggested she will use the proceeds from the contract to settle her debts. Her formal sentencing was postponed this week by a New Jersey judge who was openly critical of Hill’s failure to pay the remainder of her tax bill at the time of the hearing. The singer, who faces jail time related to her outstanding debt, has until May 6th to address the balance. Lauryn Hill had this to say about the situation:

It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music.

I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce… free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.

It took years for me to get out of the ‘parasitic’ dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.

The nature of my new business venture, as well as the dollar amount reported, was inaccurate, only a portion of the overall deal. Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).

Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.


Spotted at RU


  • WhoRunTheWorld

    Speak on it my sista.. Puppets too scurred to pipe in.

  • Delusional…

    • Mac Gilbert

      Its more delusional to live with out questioning the truth.

  • I’m Crazy.It’s The World.

    That was a whole lot of nothing.
    I guess when you talk in circles, it’s easy to see why your in the same place.
    If she would just admit she went through her monies and had bad counsel, then she could move on

  • April

    Agreed, Lauryn! Fight the good fight.

  • Way to avoid the conversation. Talk about inequity…pay your taxes like everyone else. (Big fan of her music, but not this behavior.)

    • Anastacia

      You obviously are not a musician. You haven’t walked in her shoes. Do not judge lest you be judged.

    • pwmars

      I think she mentioned somewhere in that letter about minds overly tethered to structure…you should check it out.

    • Speaking in semantics about nothing doesn’t mean anything and it definitely won’t exempt her from paying her taxes like everyone else. Exploitation of artist and workers is undeniable and is set in stone under capitalism; so is acquiring gross amounts of wealth beyond the average citizen. PAY YOUR TAXES MS. HILL.

    • Mac Gilbert

      Speaking in semantics? That doesn’t mean anything. Semantics refers to the linguistic and grammatical organization of sentences and paragraphs. Everyone is speaking in semantics at all times.

    • I think that if you read your answer; you’ll find that you answered yourself. I’ve no time to speak or delve in semantics about gibberish. The whole point of this is that Lauryn only celebrates the parts of capitalism that are only beneficial to her. Under capitalism people are grossly rewarded and also grossly taxed. It’s the balance the keeps the rich, richer and in power. She wasn’t complaining when the cheques were clearing. PAY UP!

    • luvpolitics .

      It’s interesting that corporations like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft avoid billions in taxes, yearly, through loopholes, and no one is sent to prison.Yet when citizens like Lauryn Hill neglect to pay their share, they are suddenly ordered to pay up and or are sent to Federal prison? Apparently, the $ 500,000 she refused to pay was worth the hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars spent to prosecute her in court. If we really cared about tax enforcement, wouldn’t it make better sense to go after billions in unpaid revenue versus $500,000?

    • omgzursodumb

      lol..i love people that run around thinking they know EVERYTHING.


    • Wow. You sure told me.

    • You don’t even have a clue what happen! People like you judge before research..

  • Giggling Gangsta

    she’s a babbling idiot.

    • Babbling idiot

      so says the “giggling gangsta”..

      think…THEN speak.

      you’re welcome.

  • JoeR

    She did evade the tax evasion issue (see what I did there?), but she makes a good point about artists who make tons of money for a *company*, but not for themselves. It is an issue of “inequity”. … Maybe she actually just wanted to address her new business venture and not the ongoing legal battle.

  • J-Truth

    Plain english! if you don’t have creative control of your product, the record companies will brand you, your likeness, and your talents to fit their needs and their needs have been very destructive and influential to our culture and the hip hop community, we have so many young good artist on the streets trying to do it independently because they refuse to be control’ed, if you listen to the radio you here the same songs over and over and thats because the record companies have bought up all the time from the big media companies who has bought out all the mom and pop radio stations. Support you local independent artist!

  • Sandra Izsadore

    Well written and spoken truly.





    • Woody

      Those prayers worked well… NOT

  • Bosseagle

    Spoken like a true over-privileged, self-entitled, American. Who, or what, is stopping her from being an independent artist? She wants all the perks and payouts from being on a major label, but God forbid they try and request things of her for all the millions of dollars they give her.

    • wow! Millions they “GIVE” her. Kill yourself bro. Obviously you have no idea how much money the label makes off an artist like Lauryn. Of the 50 Million in record sales she sowed, she probably grossed less that 18% of earnings, the highest paid artist in the business gets a deal that is no better than 24 cents on the dollar i.e. Prince, MJ, Madonna and artist of that caliber. Not to mention they lose ownership of their public performing persona and right to their creative property as well, so no, it is not that easy to just leave a major and start and indie career, in a person like Ms Hills situation, I am sure the label was doing everything in their power to not release her from any contracts as well. IF you study your history, you will find this is all to often the norm in the business of distributing records. The vultures catch these children at a very young age and have them sign away their souls before they have even a inkling of the definition of business savvy, Lauryn admitted she was at fault and made poor choices and she is trying to rectify them she is not the only one to blame here and no one at any record label GAVE her a damned thing.

    • MortonSalty

      Kill yourself? What are you 14? Yes, millions. Every cent she has ever earned was because of her affiliation with those major record labels. If she hadn’t signed with one, we wouldn’t even be talking about her. She wants to have her cake and eat it too. You can sign to a major label and make your cash and be famous, or you can be independent and keep your integrity, all while trying to scrape by.

    • AlwaysBlossom

      And every cent they made was because of her. 🙂

    • Woody

      I stopped reading after you said, ‘Kill yourself bro’. What a tard….

  • We wish MLH all the best. We supported her before, we support her now and we’ll continue to support her forever!

  • well that didnt clear anything up

  • Just pay your taxes, like everyone else, and work like you’re Patti Labelle.

  • Why is her financial situation our concern? I don’t care as long as she continues to make music and tour. None of us would want our personal business posted, so why should she have to do so. These reporters need to focus on the things she’s creating. Her personal biz is hers.

    • MindSoulEternal

      Thank you!!!

  • Janin

    This is very inspirational and has shone a light on a growing worry I’ve had for some time in terms of… when will an inspirational voice that does not create for benefit of the market but instead speak words of wisdom… “what people need”. I won’t speak on someone else’s debt since I live America & have my own but this was very well thought out. I’m excited to see these ventures come to life.

  • When someone famous has an issue, others step up and lecture as if they themselves are above mistakes. Lauryn Hill was probably irresponsible, but read an article, and start bitching about her situation as if you’ve done nothing wrong yourself.

  • MOE

    I wish everybody would LEAVE LAURYN HILL ALONE!! Let her handle her stuff like a grown woman is supposed to!! She is doing just that!! LEAVE HER ALINE!! DAMN!! All the haters trying to tell her what to do like your life is so damn perfect!! Cut it OUT!!

  • Krate Digga

    She touched on some legitimate points but that becomes hidden in the fact that she didnt really say anything. She’s taken no responsibility in this letter of anything that has happen to her except her selling 50 million units (which wasnt done without the help of same “minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure.”) To truly help other artists who seek freedom from corporate pimping, one needs to speak clearer on the trappings & on personal responsibility. I wish her the best, I think she has something the culture could benefit from.

  • DM

    Dam homie in high school you that queen homie…now you just drawlin

  • Im just glad the queen is releasing new music and atleast tryin to get all of her tax shit handled. Maybe if our govt wasnt so greedy we as a country wouldnt owe so much.

  • ease

    pay attention to what she is saying about the industry. babbling idiot? naw, shes just choosing her words carefully to not blatantly expose what she really means. this is about far more then taxes. besides, if she had been able to earn more than half of what all of her music has made she wouldn’t have had these problems. they have been stealing from her and controlling her life. she took her life back by leaving the industry but there are still thorns from her past that she has to address. if she passes away before she is able to say her piece, don’t be surprised.

  • Gloria

    I guess none of you all read: “Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything.”… Cause that statement is loaded and does bring some understanding to her current situation, but only if you believe it to be remotely true or possible.

    • Gloria

      One never understands the true art of manipulation until they are faced with the consequences (i.e. Lauryn Hill)..that is more or less what she is addressing here and I am sure her new music will speak on it more in depth. Folks posting these mindless comments, probably have no clue what it is means to be signed as a major artist, be manipulated on a major level and then be made an example when you refuse to assimilate to the will & ways of the oppressor. I think Lauryn Hill has learned one of the hardest lessons of her life: Everything glittering ain’t gold and everyone lending ain’t really helping…

  • that bitch signed a deal for 20 grand and change. a million dollars signing is weak as fuck she has five grammys and 50 million world wide she’s like the black Mariah but you walking way with less than 20k and contract DUMB

  • MindSoulEternal

    Since people want to put there focus on Ms. Lauryn Hill’s personal business, let’s focus on America’s Debt to China, Japan and whoever they owe!!! Let’s see what you have to say about that!!! Cowards~

  • Aynsley Sinclair

    I’ll bet though while she is unwilling to compromise, she’s still driving a very nice car (or two or three) and living in a very nice home (or two or three). You have to be willing to NOT live the life of a rock star if you decide not to play the game. No one owes you a mansion. No matter how many records you sold. Good music, and downsize and go indie! people will buy. You may not have a mansion, but I’ll bet you could do pretty well.

  • Bro.Lane

    When we market ourselves, we will be bought. Bought people are owned by the buyer(s). Owned persons are slaves. If you do not wish to be owned, do not sell yourself..

  • Not Lauryn Hill

    booboo just pay your taxes and spare us the minds tethered to “structure” nonsense. You enjoy all the benefits of the infra”structure” that everyone else pays tax for. Other musicians pay their taxes and they make much more and some much less money than you.

  • David

    She’s in debt and blames major labels for ripping her off with “traps, manipulations and inequitable business arrangements” and decides she’s going to get out of this debt by signing a deal with another major label? If she signed with an independent label she’d make a higher percentage from each album sold and can make money from advertisements, sponsors and gigs. Everyone has to pay taxes. You shouldn’t be treated special just because you put out (in my opinion great) music.

    • AlwaysBlossom

      She will have control, that is the difference, take the time to read. She has her own label under Sony.

  • Miliano Soparano

    I love you Lauren Hill, but I went to one of your shows here in Toronto, and I was dissatisfied with your tardiness and you sounded off. We need new talent to replace the fading artist….this goes to D’angelo as well. Peace>

  • Jarvis

    Lauryn Hill, has the most beautiful sexy female voice goin’, I can’t wait for her new music, I hope she will be able to handle her success by livin’ within her means. All the best Lauren!

  • Wst

    I mean, youre all pointing fingers here like youre some saints. She fucked up, and now shes paying the consequences, handling it like a grown woman. This is life.

    Now look back in time to your own most recent, major fuck up, think hard now. Got it? good. Now imagine having the world press up your ass about every little detail concerning that fuck up, day and night …
    Lets just say that my open letter would piss alot more people off 🙂

  • 4:20

    I love how this stupid bullshit gets 40+ comments (when actual music postings get maybe 2 or 3) cuz everyone has their OPINIONS but at the end of the day that’s all they are YOUR OPINIONS. Sorry to burst y’all bubbles but yes major labels take advantage of almost every artist they sign, not to mention try to transform them into some kind of robotic pop singer. get over yourselves haters, ms.Lauryn Hill IS ONE OF THE GREATEST RAPPERS/SINGERS OF OUR TIME, fuckin recognize you ungrateful opinionated people!

  • truths and rights

    Hang on in there my sista, to hell with tax collectors …a them make the world have a poor God…Jesus was born in a manager just becuz of tax collector …them is some dangerous people…always want BACK them paper money that them make …for exchange of your labour/service…these things that have NO monetary values…values higher than PAPER money…what contribution do these tax collectors made towards artist development …absolutely NOTHING…artist most times suffer unusually life styles just to build their careers…their family also suffer with them…they end up in situations of all kind most times…at the same time they contributes from their God – given talents to so much charitable fund raising projects more than any other professions in this world…at the same time they contributes to foreign exchange, economic formation…etc.

    To me an artiste is liken to the Creator…their mission is to heal the world at the same time…most people just want to bring them down… remember an artiste skill are God – given they owe no one nothing …as long as they continued to contributes to charitable functions and projects …that is theirsocial

  • Snoop8765

    This chick is too stupid for words!

    • AlwaysBlossom

      I’m guessing you didn’t understand

  • Musical Director

    Wow, LH sure knows how to make a lot of BS sound poetic. I love her music, but I hate to admit that as I believe this woman to be one of the must unethical operating in the business. Talking trash about anyone is a big no no in my book, unless there’s a reason for it, as with her it hits close to home. Here’s why

    Ask any Musican that’s had the “pleasure” of working with her. She’s had some of the best players turn their heads in fear. Ask them how much they were compensated… Many will tell you they’ve been stiffed and never received a paycheck. Pay her taxes? This woman can’t even honor her own musicians. Some nerve if you aske me. She’s blacklisted from serval local scenes, mention her name and the record skips.. ethics baby. It’s a small world, especially in the music business. Word get around quick.

    And nobody likes paying taxes. Act like an adult.

  • luvpolitics .

    There are more comments on here focusing on her writing style versus her message. She attended Columbia University (Ivy League ), so if you are looking for something written on an eight grade level, then you should probably go check out Fantasia Barrino’s Twitter page (she’s barely literate). Honestly, if that’s the only thing you can complain about (she’s too smart), then it is apparent many of you came for the sole purpose to criticize.

    Yes, I agree that everyone should pay their taxes, but does that not include corporations like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, who each get away with billions in unpaid taxes yearly? I keep reading “pay up, pay up” so why isn’t the same being said to Apple and Amazon? Lauryn didn’t pay $500,000 and yet it cost the tax payers that much to prosecute and detain her in Federal prison. If tax enforcement was such a priority, then spend 500K to go after 500K, when billions are being unpaid elsewhere? Grow a brain rednecks.

  • Lesa

    Many of you aren’t aware of what she is saying because she still has talk in an indirect way because of serious threats from the illuminati. Look and research the illuminati and then you may understand. Listen to every songs. Lyrics on her Lauryn hill miseducAted. I believe it’s called. She’s been through hell which is so apparent if you understand what she’s really talking about including selling her soul to the devil. Yes believe it or not. Truth is truth. Peace out.

  • AlwaysBlossom

    People are so blind and ignorant. The stuff she’s saying could get her killed and you all are focused on taxes (which if you really read it, you’d see why she’s in this situation). Smh


    I agree, money is not worth your mind, body and soul being compromised…..my prayers go out to Lauryn Hill and her family.

  • Woody

    Did she just take a brain fart and write it down?

  • Salina J

    I love Lauryn and she has been fighting many battles. The majority of artist enter the business as young adults and in some cases minors. Unrealistic expectations and reality will be the new artist first discovery or maybe the reality is deferred momentarily while the artist is engaged in a honeymoon with the label. The record is the tool that is marketed for the artist to sell concert tickets and concerts should be the lions share for an artist earnings not so much from the recordings. TLC gave Pebbles a bad rap because they made poor personal decisions and were not savvy; however; their deal was typical. My advice don’t chase the music dream for fortune, entrepreneurship is better suited for that.