Lauryn Hill: The Re-Education Of Lauryn Hill Mixtape

Mismatched make-up, public performance breakdowns, pleas for psychiatric help on behalf of Wyclef. Nothing really matters when it comes to new Lauryn Hill material. As either an effort to dilute the concentrated assumption that Lauryn’s gone mad or to haphazardly throw together random performances and soundtrack spots to quiet lingering fans, The Re-Education of Lauryn Hill mixtape is here. For hardcore L-Boogie disciples, a title of that magnitude would probably come attached to this heroic success story of how Ms. Hill rose from the ashes like the Phoenix and sits us all down by a fire to discuss it. Yeah, not so much. In fact, combined with the track selection, the title suggests an ironic career eulogy, as it’s several glimpses into the musical life of Lauryn Hill that have either never been released or never been thoroughly acknowledged. The mixtape opens with Lauryn’s verse from “Music” off Introducing Joss Stone. While it’s marked as an Intro, the abrupt ending didn’t leave room for the best part of the song (Joss’ hook). Songs from various soundtracks are included, such as “Lose Myself” (from the Surf’s Up soundtrack), “The Passion” (from Passion of the Christ), and “Selah” from (The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood). While they are all derived from Lauryn’s theoretical “breakdown” period, they’re brilliant enough to alert most that when she wants to, Lauryn can still deliver. Several tracks that were also performed on her MTV Unplugged album (rumored to be on her next studio album) appear on the mixtape – some actually recorded in a studio; others performed live. Her Def Poetry Jam piece “Motives & Thoughts” is thrown in for good measure, as well as her covers of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” (off a late ‘90s Fugees import) and Curtis Mayfield’s “The Makings Of You” (from Dave Chapelle’s Block Party).Three “unreleased” tracks appear on Re-Education – “Take Too Much Rich Man,” which vocally sounds closest to the Lauryn we used to know and love (and the only track that lives up to the mixtape title), “Guarding the Gates,” which discusses her pains in fitting into society, and the not so recent live favorite, “Social Drug.” Hearing these songs on The Re-Education of Lauryn Hill are like searching for hidden meanings on one of Tupac’s 300 releases from the grave – there’s this dull acceptance that he’s gone which blankets the true belief that he’ll be back some day. Fortunately, Lauryn Hill is still among us…so how ‘bout it Ms. Hill?