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  • Writer's pictureEmma Norton

Tell Him - Lauryn Hill

Like all others, I hold my preferences in life. But I remain firm in my one dealbreaker: if you don't appreciate Lauryn Hill, we have nothing further to discuss. Don't secretly go and watch Sister Act II either and use the Whoopi loophole. 

My friend, conveniently for the sake of this story, is also named Lauren. She is essentially me 10 years younger. Like a weird, synchronistic, Bizarro World me, but with tattoos. I knew she was special, but I didn't truly appreciate her until I heard Lauryn Hill come on her playlist. "YOU" I said, "You are special. An exalted one." The musical taste of well, me. We immediately deepened our bond and I knew everything would be alright with the world. 

We were returning from a BLM peaceful protest at the time, which she invited me to. It's this next generation that provided me with a solace given the direction of the world. So the irony being, we go back to the artists who were prevalent when I was young and have carried throughout my life with me, and we resonate. Now these voices are being reamplified in a whole new way to a younger audience. It is a beautiful experience.  

I started my Lauryn Hill journey with The Fugees. I'm pretty sure that The Score was the first cassette tape I ever purchased by myself. Granted, CDs came out soon after, it was a wild time. 

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill not only brought hip-hop further into the mainstream by making it more approachable, but it also brought an added vulnerability and desired femininity to the genre. The seamless weaving of singing and rapping was a new feel and the contradiction of Hill to the other female MCs of her era sets her apart with less flash or boosting sales through sexuality. The album was real, raw, and a beautiful masterpiece.

"Tell Him," is a beautiful rendition dedicated to that powerful love. The kind you fight for that nothing else will rival in your lifetime. It makes me feel so impassioned and romantic. It is likely an ode to God, but the lyrics offer you the opportunity to choose your audiblele journey.

It casually starts with a percussion setting the pace and Ms. Hill riffing over the beat. Moving into the smooth nature of her indomitable voice, you cannot help but feel enraptured by her. My personal approach to this song is that unconditional love vibe. Love is an energy, it is an appreciation and without it emanating from you, you have not much to give or receive. It's lyrics like this that remind me to stay grounded in that place. 

It is in the dualistic nature of what we hear in her music to what was transpiring in Ms. Hill's life at the time that can provide you with different perspectives of her repertoire. The one definitive aspect of Lauryn Hill is that she speaks out whether through her music or directly. If you followed her recent communication regarding her daughter's candid explanation about her childhood traumas when Ms. Hill was at the height of her career, you will be able to weave together what the industry fabricated and how it impacted her along with the pre-existing generational trauma.

To have separated herself from The Fugees and created her solo career, with the insane success of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill that brought us a refreshing take on hip-hop, the weight of the world was on her shoulders. It is intriguing to see how people react to their blessings, which can at times be overwhelming and not necessarily all that you bargained for. But to be honest regarding each moment without suppressing the voice of self and others is where I find respect for Ms. Hill.

One thing is for sure, Lauryn Hill was ahead of her time. To listen to her music now (as though I haven't with consistency over the years) brings me a deeper appreciation of the plight of others, the love they release, and how songs can affect you differently depending on your era of existence. But her voice? Her lyrics? Her passion and power? The impact remains and in fact, grows as I mature.   

Music is a beautiful thing that can connect people. "Tell Him" and other songs from Lauryn Hill hold that timelessness. Forever romantic, empowering, and beautiful. To share that with others is an exciting opportunity.

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