It’s been almost 23 years since Lauryn Hill released her beloved, Grammy-winning The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album, which features classics like “Ex-Factor,” “Doo Wop (That Thing),” and her breezy take on Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
However, besides a live 2002 MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 project, the icon never released another studio album, much to the dismay of fans. In a new email interview for Rolling Stone‘s “500 Greatest Albums” podcast on Amazon Music, the star revealed why. “The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, EVER…EVER. Did I say ever? Ever!” she explained.
“With the Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express,” she continued. “After the Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs EVERYWHERE. People had included me in their own narratives of THEIR successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
On the album’s legacy, Hill shared that she’s “always been pretty critical of myself artistically, so of course there are things I hear that could have been done differently but the LOVE in the album, the passion, it’s intention is to me, undeniable.”
“I think my intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they’d sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently,” she added. “At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so. … I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe the Miseducation did that and I believe I still do this–defy convention when the convention is questionable.”
Miseducation hit No. 10 on Rolling Stone‘s “500 Greatest Albums” list. Listen to the podcast here.