According to TMZ, the Lauryn Hill has plead guilty to tax evasion, telling a judge this morning that she intentionally failed to file tax returns in between 2005 and 2007, when she earned more than $1.8 million. She was released on $150,000 bail, but will have to return to court in November for sentencing. According to her attorney, Nathan Hochman, Hill plans on paying back the taxes owed before then. But if it’s decided in November that the gesture is to little or too late, she could see up to three years of jail time.
When news broke, the former Fugees frontwoman attempted to temper the charges with a lengthy missive posted to her Tumblr. “For the past several years, I have remained what others would consider underground,” she wrote in defense, claiming to have removed herself and her family from society in order to “keep them safe, healthy, and free from danger.” She goes on to explain that she had filed regularly in the years prior and that, although she she stopped when she felt “it was necessary to withdraw from society”, her intention “has always been to get this situation rectified.”
Unfortunately, potential three years jail time (one for each year’s taxes not filed) and upwards of $75,000 in fines sounds not like the rectification she had hoped for. Hill has been edging herself back into the scene, making semi-regular appearances at big events like Hot 97′s Summer Jam and Rock the Bells the year prior. It was starting to seem like we might get her back! But, as compelling as Ms. Hill’s arguments for hiding out may be, Uncle Sam gets the last say on this one.
It’s Nasty Nas season, folks. There’s an excitement surrounding his 10th studio album Life Is Good that hasn’t been this prevalent since he dropped “Stillmatic” in 2001. Recently he stopped by CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien where he openly discussed fatherhood and why he made his latest single “Daughters.” In the interview he said being in the music business and having the relationship he does with his daughter’s mother, Carmen Bryant, he didn’t spend the time he needed to with his daughter. “It took me away from being that parent that was there all the time,” he said. Despite the self-reflection in thinking he could’ve done a better job as a father Nas says his daughter thinks he was a great dad. Awwww. Read more…
Ms. Lauryn Hill is perfectly sane, maybe misunderstood, but sane nonetheless. Only a coherent person could write the dissertation statement she released on her Tumblr explaining why she didn’t pay her taxes in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Warning: you may need to consult your thesaurus to follow along. Ms. Hill calls out the music industry for its “pop culture cannibalism” and accuses the media of trying to distort her image by painting her as a lunatic. Despite her eloquence, we’re almost certain Uncle Sam cares absolutely nothing about the reason she didn’t pay. They just want to get paid. Read more…
Uncle Sam is one guy folks should try to avoid at all costs. Lauryn Hill is learning the hard way that the wrath of this guy is not pretty, especially when you haven’t filed taxes for three consecutive years. Per TMZ.com, the feds are coming after Hill for not filing her tax returns in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Here’s the kicker: Hill earned more than $1.8 million, but couldn’t be bothered with the minute things in life, like filing taxes. Read more…
In a chain of events few would have expected, Hot 97 Summer Jam was as much about who was performing as it was about who wasn’t performing. By the time Tyga performed “Faded” and “Rack City” there was a dark cloud looming over the nearly 80,000 attendees, and that cloud had nothing to do with the weather. Tyga’s boss, Lil Wayne, had just abruptly pulled the plug on any of his artists performing, including the show’s headliner–Nicki Minaj.
Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg, known for his loose (opinionated) lips introduced Kendrick Lamar during the pre-show and dropped a bombshell that set the tone for the rest of the night. “I know there are some chicks here waiting to sing “Starships” later. I’m not talking to y’all right now. F*ck that bulls*it,” he said to the crowd. “I’m here to talk about real hip-hop s*it.” The YMCMB president got whiff of the perceived diss and tweeted, “Young Money ain’t doing summer jam.” With that one tweet the boss had spoken. But the show did in fact go on. And in a major way.
Opening acts like Maino, Joe Budden and Joel Ortiz rattled through their old hits to a barely there crowd. That didn’t keep Budden from declaring he and his crew were the “best rappers in the universe.” People started filling in once Waka Flocka hit the stage with the wild, crazy, party energy he seems to carry with him anywhere he goes. The signature Waka Flocka move–shaking his dreads from side to side–was in full effect during “Bustin At Em,” “It’s A Party,” “Hard In the Paint and “I Don’t Really Care.” “No Hands” served as a segue into Wale’s set as the two shared the stage. J. Cole proved he’s studied in the School of Jay-Z as he was the first to perform with a live band. No entourage needed, he commanded the stage with his mere talent.
When other high schoolers were sneaking on the phone at the wee hours of the morning to talk to their crush, Rye Rye was touring with M.I.A. After DJ Blaqstarr discovered the young rapper at the age of 15, they collaborated on “Shake It To The Ground,” a youthful dance track that caught the attention of M.I.A. only months later. Now, 21, the Baltimore, MD rapper has released her debut album Go! Pop! Bang! that was four years in the making. To appreciate Rye Rye’s music one must understand the oftentimes disparate state of her hometown. Then one must consider the city’s definitive musical sound unique to that place and its natives. The arts was a way for the young funky teen to express herself outside of the confines of the housing projects she grew up in. As much as Rye Rye is a rapper, she’s a dancer. And the latter inspires the sound of Go! Pop! Bang! more than the expected hardened environment she grew up in.
Her first single, “Boom Boom” (video below), is a perfect indication of what to expect from the album. It’s about partying, boys and having a bloody good time. The whole point is not to take herself too seriously. Over the video game beat, Rye Rye raps in her semi-fast, edgy tone about wanting a guy in her room. Tracks like “DNA” featuring Porcelain Black, “New Thing,” “Dance” and “Hardcore Girls” are where her Baltimore club influence is most dominant — a mix of house, D.C. go-go and techno-electro. On “Crazy Bitch,” she teamed up with Akon in a more concept driven track where the beat is slightly slower than the usual uptempo beat. With the help of Akon she pokes fun at being considered the “crazy bitch” in the relationship. “Sunshine” and “Bang” both feature M.I.A. and have the bombastic drum beat M.I.A. tends to love on her own tracks. Both records offer that distinctive voice that only an M.I.A. feature can add. Her rhymes in “Bang” slow the listener down from the natural inclination to dance to actually listen to her rhymes. “Never Will Be Mine” featuring Robyn is one of the slower tracks on the record but still manages to keep the light fun mood of the rest of the album. Read more…
Performing at Coachella for two consecutive weekends must be intense for artists. They understand that each show is different, as is each audience. Doing an exact repeat performance of a set that has already been viewed around the ‘net by thousands of fans could be career suicide. (Well, at least Coachella career suicide.) Frank Ocean, an artist whose reputation has been built up by the Internet, is definitely someone who recognizes this, so he made sure to switch things up a bit this weekend by covering Lauryn Hill’s beloved “Tell Him” right out of the gates. The minute the crowd recognized the words, they went crazy. Not just because they were familiar, though, but because of the way Frank took the slow steady route, singing smoothly over the mellow instrumentals.
Ocean also gave the crowd another treat with his new song, “Forrest Gump,” which he explained to the rabid crowd as being on “one of his new jams” from his upcoming LP.
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).