Music has always been the centre of my life. There are numerous artists that I have had the opportunity of listening to and to be inspired by. However, none compares to the one and only, Miss Lauryn Hill, whose consciousness is felt in every lyric. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the album was released in 1998, and its impact extends itself in 2018. There were several golden morsels of knowledge in this album which has been taught and reiterated throughout my life in different phases.
LIFE LESSON #1 :INTROSPECTION “How you gonna win if you ain’t right within?”
Lauryn in her award-winning anthem ‘Doo Wop, That Thing’, through that great question ponders the whole aspect of internalizing and self-assessment. This is particularly important on working on yourself from the inside out. This is rather relevant in this generation of ‘likes’, it is important to know that it is not the surface that matters but rather the heart. Another lesson learnt would be the belief that if you perpetuate bad energy into the world, bad energy will follow and inevitably you will not ‘win’ at this metaphoric game of life.
LIFE LESSON #2: KNOW YOUR WORTH
“Don’t be a hard rock when you are a gem, baby girl.”
This simply means, do not shrink yourself. Often as we traverse through life and we end up in rooms with tremendous individuals; As females, there tends to be this innate response for us to blend in, ‘not cause a scene’. Hill, however, petitions for female empowerment through her clever lyrics to tell us; DON’T JUST BE PRESENT, SHINE AND BE AWARE OF YOUR WORTH. Let me say it one more time for the people in the back; DON’T SELL YOURSELF SHORT. You’re a gem, baby girl!
LIFE LESSON #3: TRUST YOUR JOURNEY “Everything is everything. What is meant to be will be.”This is not a phrase discovered through Lauryn Hill; this is commonly used phrase which gives comfort and leads us to accept that the beauty of life lies in its uncertainty. Though often, life may throw us curveballs, it is all a process. The perfectionist in me had difficulty in accepting this as I tend to appreciate having control over every facet of my life and also the media continually purports this with the ideology of being ‘the master of your destiny’. However, if it’s meant to be, it will be; whether it be relationships, jobs etc. If it doesn’t work out, take it as experience and as a blessing.
LIFE LESSON #4: LOVE
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill stems itself on love whether it’s through its various interludes with the innocence of the children giving their take on love. It is hard to choose one lyric from her work to express what I learnt about love through this album. The album shows how the concept of love varies between individuals. Hill throughout her album gives us a variation of love songs and breakup songs.
Fun Fact: I tend to enjoy listening to an entire album from an artist because usually there’s a story being told through its sequence. Hill’s album has a great blend of genres; Reggae, Hip-hop and Neo-soul used to showcase different messages. What is important to note is that Lauryn Hill gives us her breakup and heartbreak songs like Ex-Factor and I Used to love Him first and then love songs like Tell Him and Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You. This is not the usual progression of albums, and this structure not only likens to the miseducation which she alludes to in her title but reality. It touches on the fragility that is love and how, unfortunately, it is often the ones we love who will hurt us. This sequence taught me that Love is not linear and it won’t always be easy. However, the onus is on you to discover what is Love and know what you will do it. If you haven’t listened to the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, I recommend you do. If you have, hope we learnt similar lessons.