'MTV Unplugged': The 15 Best Episodes

To celebrate the show's return, we look back at its greatest moments – from Jay-Z to Nirvana

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11. Lauryn Hill (2001)

It had been three long years since Lauryn Hill released her debut LP The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill when she stepped onto the MTV Unplugged stage. She had a ton of new songs, but was just learning to play guitar and clearly was in no position to be presenting them to the public. "Anyone with ears can hear there are only three chords being played on every song," an anonymous industry executive told Rolling Stone in 2003. "I saw it with a roomful of professionals, and someone said, 'I feel like jumpin' out a window.'" But with her label desperate for new Lauryn Hill music of any sort, they released it as a double album. "A lesser artist, it would've never been released," an industry insider said. "A lesser artist would've been shot and thrown out the window." But 16 years later, things feel a little different, especially since there was no follow-up of any sort. It's an artist battling a shredded throat, the crushing weight of industry expectations and her own fragility. Putting this all out there for the public to see was an amazing act of courage and the most unique, unpolished Unplugged ever to see the light of day.  

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