It looks like a tax bill and the threat of imprisonment has put the fire under Ms. Lauryn Hill's tush and finally got her releasing music. This isn't just speculation on my part; she's pretty much said so on her Tumblr page;
Hello All:Oh well, at least she's also managed to get her own label, Observe Creation Music, out of the new deal with Sony. One that will ultimately see the record label help to pay her tax bill on the promise she delivers a new album- notably, her first since 2002's troubled but brilliant MTV Unplugged set. With her track record of releasing music, I'm not holding my breath that this will end well.
Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. 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. 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!
The track itself is a compelling one, with the Fugees songstress spitting her unique brand of socio-political rhymes over an unconventional (for her), and weaker by comparison to its content, electronic beat. The song is probably not going to grab anyone with the production or structure- missing a hook, or bridge- but for the more dedicated a listener, the lyric and Lauryn's (slightly paranoid) conviction makes for riveting listening.
Even though Ms. Hill is putting out music against her will, or at least before feeling it's ready, I have to say that the timing of this return couldn't be better. As of right now the top 40 female emcees are representing a style of rap that focuses more on image and sales than lyrical content; offering a distorted picture, to the young'uns especially, of what a female rapper can and should be. If Lauryn can get herself together, embracing the bind she's in, there's every chance she could offer a viable alternative to this, ever so slightly soul-crushing, archetype.
God knows we need it! Check out Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix) below.
And some "classic" Lauryn!