Lauryn Hill breaks her silence:
“Who are you to say I didn’t do enough? Most people are probably just hearing your name for the first time because you dropped MINE in an interview.”
“I’m confused as to why such a principled musician, who thought I ‘stole’ from his friends, would show up to work for me anyway.”
Lauryn Hill has published a new essay on Medium Monday night addressing the recent accusations jazz pianist and producer Robert Glasper made earlier this month.
In the essay titled “Addressing Robert Glasper and other common misconceptions about me (in no particular order),” Hill writes,
I’ve remained patient and quiet for a very long time, allowing people to talk, speculate, and project, while keeping my nose to the grindstone fighting for freedoms many folks aren’t even aware matter. The arrogance of presumption that allows someone to think that they could have all the facts about another person’s life and experience, is truly and remarkably… presumptuous.
I chose to wait until after the anniversary to post this. Thank you everyone for the Love! I’d like to clear a few things up.
Full statement available here: https://t.co/kbtvoOWD2R
— Ms. Lauryn Hill (@MsLaurynHill) August 28, 2018
In direct response to Glasper she writes, “Who are you to say I didn’t do enough? Most people are probably just hearing your name for the first time because you dropped MINE in an interview, controversially. Taking nothing away from your talent, but this is a fact.”
In a recent interview, Glasper opened up about his negative experiences working with Hill and he also alleged that The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, contained music that was stolen from other artists. “She took the credit for making the classic album,” he said. “Those songs were written by other people and they did not get their credit. She likes to take credit so she can become this super person.”
Glasper’s comments seemed to spark new life into an already well-documented 1998 lawsuit over music production and arrangement credits on the album.
In response to claims of crediting, Hill wrote,
The Miseducation was the first time I worked with musicians outside of the Fugees who’s report and working relationship was clear. In an effort to create the same level of comfort, I may not have established the necessary boundaries and may have been more inviting than I should have been. In hindsight, I would have handled it differently for the removal of any confusion
I appreciate everyone who was a part of it, in any and every capacity. It wouldn’t have existed the way that it did without the involvement, skill, hard work, and talents of the artists/musicians and technicians who were a part of it, but it still required my vision, my passion, my faith, my will, my soul, my heart, and my story.
Hill says, Glaseper’s claim that she cut her band’s pay in half may not be accurate but notes that it’s a common practice amongst other musicians.
“I would never just cut a musician’s pay arbitrarily unless I had a legitimate reason. There are artists who do cut pay though, James Brown was notorious for docking musicians if they did something he didn’t like, I’m sure there are others.”
She also employed apt use of the iphone emoji while clapping back at Glasper, writing, “I’m confused as to why such a principled musician, who thought I ‘stole’ from his friends, would show up to work for me anyway. 🤔 If that was hypocrisy or opportunism instead of genuine interest, it would further explain why an artist would feel the need to put his or her guard up.”
On lateness, she said,
Me being late to shows isn’t because I don’t respect my fans or their time, but the contrary, It can be argued that I care too much, and insist on things being right. I like to switch my show up regularly, change arrangements, add new songs, etc. This often leads to long sound checks, which leads to doors opening late, which leads to the show getting a late start. This element of perfectionism is about wanting the audience to experience the very best and most authentic musical experience they can from what I do.
On her demand to be addressed as “Ms. Hill” she writes, “Yes, Ms. Hill was absolutely a requirement. I was young, Black and female. Not everyone can work for and give the appropriate respect to a person in that package and in charge. It was important, especially then, for that to be revealed early.”
She also took a cue from Nicki Minaj and invoked the legacy of Harriet Tubman.
“Perhaps my seriousness and militancy in the face of tremendous resistance was misinterpreted as meanness, or that I was unloving or uncaring, when my true intent was to protect. I wouldn’t be the first Black person accused of this. I don’t think of Harriet Tubman’s skills as those of a hostess, but rather her relentless dedication to helping people who wanted out of an oppressive paradigm.”
She addressed why she chooses to rework songs from Miseducation when performing live confirming, “The myth that I’m not allowed to play the original versions of my songs is…a myth.”
I remix my songs live because I haven’t released an album in several years. There’s a ton of backstory as to why, but there’s no way I could continue to play the same songs over and over as long as I’ve been performing them without some variation and exploration. I’m not a robot. If I’d had additional music out, perhaps I would have kept them as they were. I didn’t, so I revise and rearrange them according to what I’m feeling in that moment. This way, my performances are heartfelt and authentic, not me just going through the motions. I can’t imagine why that would be a foreign concept to anyone who appreciates jazz.
Hill even addressed longtime rumors that she’d been struggling with drug addiction, writing, “Make no mistake, addiction is a common snare laid to dismantle the integrity of artists. My environment, at that time, operated more like a rehabilitation clinic than an after-party.”
Amongst the many gems in this essay, Hill addresses Glasper’s assertion that she didn’t “do enough” to be heralded as the legend that she is, to which she replied,
“Show me an artist working now who hasn’t been directly influenced by the work I put in, and I’ll show you an artist who’s been influenced by an artist who was directly influenced by the work that I put in. I was and continue to be a door opener, even if the blind don’t see it, and the prideful are too proud to admit it. I lived this, you watched this and heard about it.”
Read Lauryn Hill’s full essay on Medium.
Ivie is a Nigerian-American, native New Yorker, and journalist covering culture. Usually on-air, on deadline, and on point. @ivieani