Lauryn Hill has responded to claims that she “stole” the music on her The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as well as accusations of mistreatment toward her touring band. “I apologize for the delay in getting this posted, I was late in hearing about it. I understand this is long, but my last interview was over a decade ago…,” Hill wrote.
Earlier this month, jazz musician Robert Glasper gave an interview to a Houston radio station where he outlined how Hill had “stolen all of [his] friends’ music” during the making of the landmark 1998 album; the collective of musicians who worked on Miseducation later sued Hill over writing credit. The lawsuit was settled in 2001.
On Monday, Hill penned a lengthy response on Medium defending herself against Glasper’s accusations. “The Miseducation was the first time I worked with musicians outside of the Fugees [whose] 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,” Hill wrote.
“In hindsight, I would have handled it differently for the removal of any confusion. And I have handled it differently since, I’m clear and I make clear before someone walks in the door what I am and am not looking for. I may have been inclusive, but these are my songs.”
Glasper – who was briefly a member of Hill’s band in 2008 – also accused Hill of being notoriously harsh on her touring unit. “Every day she comes in and changes the show, changes what she wants to do,” Glasper said. “The last rehearsal, she doesn’t show up. Her manager comes in and says, ‘Lauryn’s not really feeling the way you guys have been learning the music, so we’re gonna cut your pay in half.'”
In response to that accusation, Hill said, “Don’t have the details or recollection of cutting the band’s pay in half. If fees had been negotiated and confirmed without my knowledge, I may have asked for them to be adjusted. But 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.”
Glasper cited Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones and Herbie Hancock as three artists as “if those three people can be cool, Lauryn Hill should be able to be cool. You haven’t done enough to be the way you are. You just have not. The one thing you did that was great [Miseducation], you didn’t do.”
Hill wrote in response, “I adore Stevie, and honor Herbie and Quincy, who are our forebears, but they’re not women. Men often can say ‘I want it done like this’ and not be challenged. The same rules don’t always apply for women who may be met with resistance. When this happens you replace that player with someone who respects you and the office you hold.”
Elsewhere in the post, Hill wrote about her audition and rehearsal process, the benchmarks she sets for collaborators (“My standards are too high, and my process too idiosyncratic”) and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
“The album inspired many people, from all walks of life, because of its radical (intense) will to live and to express Love. I appreciate everyone who was a part of it, in any and every capacity,” Hill wrote.
“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.”
Read Hill’s entire response at Medium.