This week we're only about one thing, and that thing is: Lauryn Hill.
"Doo-Wop (That Thing)" was the lead single off Hill's debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. One of the most critically acclaimed albums of 1998, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was a breakthrough album for female singers and emcees, because Hill showed them they didn't have to choose one. She mixed hip hop, R&B, soul and reggae into a mashup that would be called "neo-soul" and give us some of the most powerful female voices in modern music, including Erykah Badu, Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige, who called it, "one of the most incredible albums ever made".
It was Hill's first and only Billboard Hot 100 number-one, and the song won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 1999 Grammys. Hill also gets credited as the first woman since Debbie Gibson to have written, recorded and produced a #1 hit. But that's where things get a little murky.
Soon after the album's release, a group of producers and songwriters sued Hill for not properly crediting them or paying them for their work. At first, Hill contested their claims, and it looked like she was gearing up for an ugly court battle. But the harsh depositions eventually wore her down, and she settled, paying out $5 million.
According to many of Hill's friends and collaborators, the lawsuit wasn't as painful financially as it was emotionally. Throughout her years with the Fugees, Hill felt like she was perceived as Wyclef Jean's side girl, and this album was her attempt to show the world that she could do this on her own. She had built a persona of a one-woman powerhouse, and felt her settling destroyed this image.
No matter how you view Lauryn Hill, it's impossible to deny the album's impact on music. Today, we're celebrating Ms. Lauryn Hill, with her biggest single of all time. "Doo-Wop (That Thing)" tips its hat to the 1960s while incorporating heavy-hitting drums of hip hop, and has a timeless hook and theme that slides cooly into any DJs set, be it on the radio or in the club. Press play and watch out.
You can learn more about Ms. Lauryn Hill here:
About the curator - Cormac McGee
Cormac McGee is a DJ, artist manager and concert promoter based in Toronto, Canada. He’s played in front of crowds from 10 – 1,000 people and has run concerts with some of today’s top hip hop artists, including Drake, Future, Mac Miller, 6lack, Ab-Soul and more. He also runs the Music Den at Ryerson University, a business incubator for entrepreneurs in the music industry.