Lauryn Noelle Hill (1975- )

Lauryn Hill, Sound Academy, Toronto, June 21, 2014
Courtesy The Come Up Show (Canada) (CC BY 2.0)

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Actor, vocalist, lyricist, arranger, producer, activist Lauryn Noelle Hill is one of the most influential hip-hop artists. She was born in East Orange, New Jersey, on May 26, 1975, to Mal Hill, a computer consultant, and Valerie Hill, an educator and pianist. She has one brother, Malaney Hill.

At the age of 13, Hill was already singing at Showtime at the Apollo at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. While attending Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey, during her senior year, she acted in the television soap opera As the World Turns and in the film Sister Act II: Back in the Habit. Hill graduated from high school in 1993 and immediately enrolled at Columbia University. However, after completing one year, she decided to embark upon a career in music. Hill’s first album in 1994 when she was with the Fugees, Blunted on Reality, was released through Ruffhouse Records label but did not fare well, peaking at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Hill’s 1996 album, The Score, debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling six million copies in the United States. The hit single “Killing Me Softly” sold 17 million copies, thus making the Fugees as the highest-selling rap group of all time. The Score earned Grammy Award for Best Rap Album as well as one for the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. 

During the summer of 1996, Hill and singer Rohan Marley, son of Reggae guru Bob Marley, became a couple. On August 3, 1997, they became the parents of Zion David Marley.

In 1998, Hill’s solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill sold one million copies within a month’s time. The album hit #10 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums” list.  Also, during 1998, “Doo Wop that Thing” peaked at #1 on the Hot 100 chart, and in 1999, it received the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. At the 30th annual NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, California, in 1999, Hill received Outstanding Female Artist and Outstanding New Artist for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And in 1999, “Ex-Factor,” also from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, peaked at #21 and remained on the chart for 22 weeks.

MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 was released in 2001. It was Hill’s live album recorded at MTV Studios in Times Square, New York City. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200. However, it plunged rapidly although eventually it sold one million copies in the United States. MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 was Hill’s last full-length album.

In 2019, Lauryn Hill performed in Madrid, Spain, at the annual Mad Cool Festival that highlights Spanish rock, indie, and pop. 

Lauryn Noelle Hill, regal and artistically brilliant, is a critically-acclaimed female rapper and a globally established singer, lyricist, and producer.