In 1998, Lauryn Hill, then 23, debuted at No. 1 on the Nov. 14 Billboard Hot 100 with “Doo Wop (That Thing),” the lead single from the hip-hop singer-songwriter’s debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. At the time, it was only the 10th song to bow atop the chart. (Fourteen more singles have since managed that feat.)
The piano- and horn-accented “Doo Wop,” in which Hill sings and raps, was a self-respect anthem, a warning against succumbing to the pitfalls of “that thing,” whether it be sex, money or the streets.
The hit followed a successful run for Hill as one-third of The Fugees, who topped the Billboard 200 in 1996 with The Score and scored a No. 1 Mainstream Top 40 hit with a reworking of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly.”
Miseducation spent four weeks atop the Billboard 200 and won five Grammys in 1999. It has sold 7.3 million copies, according to Nielsen Music.
Hill retreated from the spotlight in 2000, citing her struggle with fame, but returned to the Billboard 200 in 2002 with the No. 3-peaking MTV Unplugged 2.0, an album that also drew attention for her between-song tirades. (Her chronic lateness and, at times, bizarre behavior, also marred a 2005 Fugees reunion tour.)
Now a mother of six children — five fathered by Bob Marley’s son Rohan Marley — Hill lives in South Orange, N.J. In 2013 she spent three months in a federal prison for tax evasion. She occasionally performs live and appeared at the Bonnaroo and Coachella festivals in 2014.