After rocketing to worldwide fame in the early Nineties as an actress and a member of the Fugees, Lauryn Hill took a big risk with her solo debut, 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It made her an even bigger star at age 23, sold millions of copies, and won her five Grammy Awards, which is the most any woman before her had taken home in a single night. But in the years following Miseducation‘s blockbuster success, Hill all but exited public life. Though she has since returned to touring and has released one-off singles, she has yet to release a proper follow-up to her one solo album.
In the latest episode of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums, our podcast on Amazon Music, Hill’s collaborators and confidants detail the ambitious, personal recording process along with the complicated decades that have followed, including legal disputes with some of those same collaborators. While Hill rarely grants interviews, she responded to e-mail questions from Rolling Stone for this episode, providing detailed new insights on an album that has become so influential and beloved that it landed at Number 10 on our brand-new poll of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time — beating out hundreds of other albums from across genres and decades, and making it the highest-ranking hip-hop album on the new list.
Later in the episode, Rolling Stone Senior Writer Jamil Smith; musician and poet Jamila Woods; and Dr. Joan Morgan, author of She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill join host Brittany Spanos to discuss the legacy and impact of Hill’s music, her relationship with celebrity, and her subsequent near-complete abandonment of both industries during a roundtable discussion.
In September, Rolling Stone unveiled the new version of the 500 Greatest Albums poll. It’s a completely updated version of our most-read, most-argued-over list ever, made with help from a group of voters that included Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and members of U2, as well as writers, critics, and figures from across the music industry.
Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums goes inside the making and the meaning of 10 albums from the list, featuring fresh stories from the artists who recorded them and insights from the Rolling Stone staff. The podcast appears exclusively on Amazon Music, with new episodes each week. Listen to every episode here.