VH1 debuted the latest countdown in our long-running The Greatest series, the 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments, this evening. If you missed it, don’t worry; it will rerun tomorrow night, Monday, September 19, at midnight. If you’re looking for the complete list, look no further. Here are the 40 Most Shocking Hip Hop Moments … so far!
We don’t expect to see a full reunion of The Fugees anytime soon (as you may recall, the trio’s 2007 attempt to re-form fizzled), but we were excited to hear about, and disappointed to have missed, the re-teaming of two of the three members on Saturday at the New York City date of the Rock the Bells festival mini-tour. Lauryn Hill was the main-stage headliner, slated to perform The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill start-to-finish (though she only played ten of the album’s thirteen songs?the first nine and then “Everything Is Everything”).
Then Pras took the stage. If this was a planned surprise, it went off perfectly: no one knew beforehand that Pras would be making an appearance. Sowmya Krishnamurthy‘s Village Voice review suggests it may have been genuinely impromptu: “‘This is how Fugees do it. They just show up!’ Hill proclaimed, clearly not thrilled.” She and Pras have had their differences over the years, but under the circumstances, what could Hill do but oblige his request and perform “Ready Or Not” and “Killing Me Softly”? Hill may not have been thrilled, but everyone else on Governor’s Island seemed to be.
Guitarist Jay Gore, who played with Lauryn Hill on her 2007 European tour has stepped up his legal claims against the singer. After initially seeking $3590 in back pay in small claims court two weeks ago (as reported by TMZ), Gore has now claimed that the tour was a hostile work environment and is asking for more than $20,000.
According to a follow-up TMZ report, the new documents claim that “after shows, Hill would demand that the musicians and road support personnel attend meetings where she would engage in a person-by-person critique and berating.” Sounds a lot like the touring prime of James Brown (not that the resemblance excuses Hill or Brown).
Last month Lauryn Hill made her first late night appearance in years for Bob Marley Week on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and she must have had a great experience with the show, because she was back last night to play her classic single “Doo Wop (That Thing).” The very pregnant Hill showed no signs of flagging energy as she and her band (without any need of help from The Roots, even) blasted through a slightly sped-up version of the song. We don’t want to add more weight to the expectations many had (and still have) for Hill as an artist, but we can’t help but note that she remains an extraordinarily talented MC, and her band was right in the pocket.
The 2011 Coachella Festival is a wrap! Sadly, we didn’t go, but here are five reasons we wish we had:
Those who stuck it out through Cee Lo Green‘s transportation-delayed (and, by some accounts, uninspiring performance) on the main stage Friday were rewarded with a razor-sharp set from Lauryn Hill, who immediately followed. After the enormous success of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which struck a chord with millions?Adele called the album “life-defining” in last week’s Rolling Stone? Hill shrank from the spotlight, and her performances of late have been as sporadic in quality as they have in quantity. But Spinreports that she was in top form at Coachella, and we can’t doubt after watching set-closer “Doo Wop (That Thing)”:
If Lauryn Hill‘s most recent public behavior (remember this amazing interview?) left you worrying about her mental stability, you aren’t alone: Lauryn’s former Fugee cohort Wyclef Jean tells Rolling Stone that he thinks the diva could use some counseling. Bellows Clef:
“I felt sorry for her, because I think she needs psychiatric help. I felt like she’s bipolar. You can’t get angry with someone who’s sick…So I even called her mom, and I stressed to her, ‘Yo, you need to get her psychiatric help.’ But I think they all fear her to death. She wasn’t always like this – but if someone has the ego and you keep feeding the ego, it’s going to turn monstrous.“
While the third Fugee in the equation, Pras, has never been shy about telling the press exactly what he thinks is wrong with Lauryn, Wyclef has been at least slightly more discrete. Perhaps he’s finally given up on the dream of the Fugees reunion. Maybe he’s really concerned for his former bandmate. Or it could be that he’s just really desperate for attention, what with his new album sitting on shelves, and all. [New York Post]
Lauryn Hill delivers her best performance since the 1999 Grammy Awards (remember when she actually made good music?) in a video recently uploaded to YouTube, and she doesn’t sing a note. For almost 15 minutes Lauryn, who’s rocking a bag-lady-does-Oprah look, mugs (see above), uses the phrase “Western paradigm,” and rambles about her career and fame. She does this all in a borderline belligerent manner that totally reminds me of a pre-zonked Whitney Houston, Newport-nasty voice and all. Oh, and adding to the weirdness, the interviewer facilitating Lauryn’s chatter is none other than the sister of Technotronic rapper Ya Kid K. I know! Lauryn, it would seem, is at the tipping point and it’s freakin’ genius. It’s soooooo good to have her back.
Watch the video and read some of the best, most self-important quotes from it after the jump:
The Fugees‘ reunion finally has been put out of its misery. The regrouping of hip-hop’s one-time most-loved collective has been sputtering with infrequent appearances and half-hearted promises of a new record since Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Praskicked it off during the filming of Dave Chappelle‘s Block Party in September 2004. Pras has gone on record to officially slay the slow-moving and temperamental beast that the Fugees have become:
“We went in the studio and recorded a couple records that were incredible. But, to put it nicely, it’s dead. Me and Clef, we on the same page, but Lauryn is in her zone, and I’m fed up with that s***. Here she is, blessed with a gift, with the opportunity to rock and give and she’s running on some bulls***? I’m a fan of Lauryn’s but I can’t respect that.” [Billboard.com]
You might win some, but hip-hop just lost a big one.
Fiddy goes to the video tape, giving a Zapruder film-type analysis of his flubbed performance of "Amusement Park" at Tuesday night’s BET Awards. 106 & Park, the Dateline of the hip-hop world, had the Vitamin Water mogul on to set things straight. Said hostess Rocsi, "He was fearin’ for his life, y’all." Isn’t that par for the course for 50?
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Lauryn Hill’s comeback concert in Oakland on Wednesday was a "fiasco," with the much-talented Hill "huffing and puffing like a weekend warrior," making the crowd wait over two hours, and at one point falling flat on her back. This bums us out to no end. Guess we’ll have to keep playing Miseducation.
Former Fugee and famed recluse Lauryn Hillwill play three shows in England this summer, much to the surprise of pretty much everyone. After intermittent rumblings of a Fugees reunion, and the rather disappointing fruits of those rumors, little has been heard from Hill since she released her nearly flawless solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in 1998. Between her 2002 Unplugged session and a brief stop at Joss Stone‘s Bahamian recording compound this past year to lend some help (and cred), Lauryn’s been all but disappeared. Which is why we’re so excited about her return from artistic exile!
Lauryn’s Return: 07-08 London, England – Apollo Hammersmith 07-09 Birmingham, England – Carling Academy 07-10 Manchester, England – Apollo