Here’s Three Things You Don’t Expect to Happen at a Ms. Lauryn Hill Show

Check your preconceived notions at the door.

At the height of her musical career in the ‘90s, Ms. Lauryn Hill surpassed the enormous success she had already achieved with her group The Fugees when she rocked the world by releasing her solo project The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album received a coveted 10 Grammy nominations and won five including Album of the Year (a history-making first for a hip-hop artist) and Best R&B Album of the Year, making Ms. Hill arguably the baddest broad breathing. Yup, she could act, sing, set it off with a mic, she was a style and fashion trendsetter and tastemaker, and she was sexy. Which was powerful in a time when the world (and especially Black women) needed confirmation and affirmation to that effect. But then, as all great stories do, Ms. Hill’s story took a few turns and she started a family, went through some personal things, disappeared for awhile, and came back. Throughout her career, Lauryn Hill has kept people talking and wondering about her and on Sunday night when she performed at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park in Northfield, Ohio as part of her ongoing tour, “MLH Caravan Ms. Lauryn Hill & Guest: A Diaspora Calling!” concert series some of those questions, at least in part, were answered. For those expecting a good show, they got a great one. That’s right folks, Ms. Lauryn Hill is back!!! But with a few caveats… I had VIP tickets and witnessed the magic live and in living color. It was a night to remember, but here are three things that I didn’t expect.

Ms. Lauryn Hill Was Right on Time

Courtesy of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park
The jokes and the jabs with regards to whether or not Ms. Lauryn Hill would start her show on time started almost immediately and with a fury once my friends got wind that I would be covering the show. But I am so pleased to be able to shut down the haters and the hecklers with this announcement: YES!!!! The show DID start ON TIME. Ms. Hill was scheduled to grace the stage at 9PM and she missed that mark by only a few minutes, allowing her DJ and her guest opening act, a talented Haitian singer by the name of Paul Beaubrun (who conjures up simultaneous thoughts of the legendary Bob Marley and former Fugees camp member John Forte) to get the crowd ready and the vibe right. Once Ms. Hill came on and opened up her nearly two-hour set with a fast-paced, high-energy rendition of “Everything Is Everything” it became clear that the night was destined to be musically magical. So stop hating HATERS!

Ms. Lauryn Hill Doing a “Version” of All of Her Hit Songs

Courtesy of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

Backed my a highly skilled and extremely talented 10-piece band and accompanied by three supporting singers, Ms. Lauryn Hill covered all the bases during her performance. She sang all of her hit songs. However I, along with the over 2,000 other fans who attended Sunday night’s performance, didn’t expect Ms. Hill to do a remixed version of them all. But she did it. And I liked it! No, I LOVED it. The fast-paced renditions with their electric musical arrangements and nuanced vocals made now classic songs like “Lost Ones”, “Ex-Factor”, “To Zion” and “Doo Wop (That Thing)” feel brand new, and for a creative, musical genius such as Ms. Hill being able to evolve and re-invent her Black girl magic is probably more of a necessity than an option. The band worked and weaved through the songs, making adjustments on the fly as directed by Ms. Hill like true performers and professionals, and the result was a completely vibed-up show that felt more like a great jam session than anything else. Another unexpected yet welcomed treat was Ms. Hill’s performance of the Sade classics “Your Love Is King” and “Sweetest Taboo”. It almost felt like Ms. Hill was having a private conversation, full of fire and feelings, in a very public place as she sang those love songs. Speaking of singing, Ms. Lauryn sang superbly on Sunday night!!! From the riffing to the rapping, it was all on point from beginning to end. So ya’ll better remember, recognize and put some RESPECK on her name!!! And while you’re at it, read the memo: If you want to hear Ms. Lauryn Hill’s music exactly as she recorded it, PLAY your CDs or downloads!!! For these live concerts, creativity is QUEEN.

Ms. Lauryn Hill Serving You Anything Less Than Her Own Trendsetting FASHUN!

Courtesy of Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park

Lauded and lusted over for her beauty and bold, unabashed style sense, Ms. Lauryn Hill remains one of those artists who garner gawks and gabble whenever she steps out into the public eye. Folks always want to know, how did she look? Well, for Sunday night’s show Ms. Hill was bedecked in clothes. Lots of them. A red leather tam. A furry frock of a jacket. A t-shirt. High-waisted baggy pants that she cinched around her petite waist with a belt. Pearl-drop earrings. And a black leather choker. Did I leave anything out? Let me think… NO. I didn’t. But I kinda sorta wished that Ms. Hill had. Only because she’s such a pretty, petite person. And all of that STUFF just seemed like too much. It seemed like she was hiding. Covering up. It was a little confusing. And it gave leave to questions like, “Is she OK? Is she pregnant?” And I hate those kinds of questions, because they detract from what matters most – the music. And trust, it would be a mistake to count Ms. Lauryn Hill as down, deranged, or done. That t-shirt that I just mentioned she had on? Well it was a throwback Gang Starr joint. Anybody with as much style and sense to rock of those still has some tricks up their sleeve. And some music to make. And some world to conquer. Yup, Ms. Lauryn Hill just might end of ruling the world after all. But in any event, she’s rocking it with her “A Diaspora Calling!” Concert Series. For more on Ms. Lauryn Hill and her upcoming shows visit www.lauryn-hill.com.