Lauryn Hill Performs Solo
With no introduction at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg last night (May 14), a pint-sized Lauryn Hill appeared, draped in an all-black over-sized dress -- her toes and finger nails were neatly painted white. With the weight of going to jail on her shoulders, coupled with the amount of humiliation the press has conjured up over the years as an attack, Hill is supposed to break. But as she belted out the hook to 'Killing Me Softly,' the opening record of her two-hour long set, it became clear Hill would not fumble.
She stood on black heels, using her strength to hype up the crowd while continuously directing her band. Two guitarists swam around her while her background singers donned big curly afros, all except for one.
Her DJ was responsible for keeping the crowd engaged after A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip took off. Hill's DJ spun records like 'War' by reggae legend Bob Marley. “It doesn’t matter if your black or white, just listen,” he instructed over the reggae tune.
Twenty-five minutes into her set, Hill’s black heels were off. The kick off of the shoes were a demonstration of how much the rapper-singer wanted to give her all in what some assumed to be her last concert before prison. It wasn’t until the performance of her song 'Black Rage' that you felt her determination. “I don’t fear,” she said repeatedly. She closed her eyes, sometimes dipping her head back and repeating “I don’t fear.”
She took off once for a quick two-minute break, and during her disappearance, the crowd chanted “Lauryn! Lauryn! Lauryn!” It was obvious, the crowd was in love. Despite the tax evasion charges against Hill, her fans refused to waver. They didn’t hide their love; they pleaded “We've missed you!” She shouted back “I’ve missed you too.”
“Too much addiction no consciousness,” the former Fugees member said during her performance of her latest single, 'Neurotic Society.' The purpose of the show was so she could play this new record, one which she clearly felt so passionate about. She aggressively asked everyone to listen to the words of the song; in fact, she even directed her band to play slower so everyone could pay attention.
“A lot of words, a lot of thoughts to fill up that 10 year gap,” she said. “We needed to hear that!” a fan shouted. “We’re living in a toxic society," Hill insisted.
The mother of six continued to hint at releasing new music. “I’m going to compile the music I did over the years, that I didn’t get to share with you and share that with you,” 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' creator revealed as the crowd roared.
She then performed 'Jammin’' and 'Could You Be Loved' by Bob Marley. Original cuts off 'The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill' were also a treat for those in the audience, including 'Everything Is Everything' and 'Doo Wop (That Thing).' During her closing performance she sang, “I’m coming back, no slack!”
Hill’s children were in attendance at the event, although they shouldn’t have been, according to the woman of the evening. "They should be in bed,” Hill stated. She opened the stage for her son to perform a rap song, one he says he’s been working on for a long time. Her 5-year-old daughter Sarah wasn’t shy, she high-fived her mother’s fans -- those with out-stretched arms -- in the front row.
No matter what happens, Lauryn Hill has fans indebted in her. When she returns, she will always be received with open arms.