It’s been nearly three years since Lauryn Hill last released a single, and she evidently has a lot on her mind: the singer and rapper goes speeding through a torrent of words on “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix),” a new song she released Friday.
“Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline,” Hill wrote in a post on Tumblr. “I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music . . . but the message is still there.”
Hill has been given until Monday to pay restitution after pleading guilty last year to evading taxes on $1.8 million in income between 2005 and 2007. The former Fugees singer had only paid about $50,000 of a $554,000 tax bill when a federal judge last week gave her two additional weeks to pay the rest before she’s sentenced in the case.
She later announced that she has teamed with Sony to launch a label to release new music, apparently including “Neurotic Society.” The song features flowing cascades of a harp-like sound over a deep, pumping rhythm as Hill delivers a fast-paced string of observations on the state of popular culture. “It’s like post-war, they’re looking for the communists or who the Marxists is / 10,000 pictures on Facebook, it’s like the pot calling the kettle narcissist / Come on, really, saying the devil but you’re the chief arsonist? / Hypocrites can’t even see their own part in this,” she rhymes.
She offers a hint of context in the note accompanying the video post, in which she refers to Kris Kross rapper Chris Kelly, who died last week: “In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!”
Hill made the song available Friday for purchase on iTunes.