The Confessions of Lauryn Hill

On the 10th anniversary of Miseducation, we mine the classic recording for clues about what went wrong.

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She was leaving clues for us all along the way.

Music is supposed to inspire

How come we ain't getting no higher?

Now tell me your philosophy

On exactly what an artist should be

Should they be someone with prosperity

And no concept of reality?

Clue No. 1: She wasn't feeling fame. The spotlight was something to be feared; the people who could bring you riches—record label suits, peddlers of "the capitalist system"—were to be actively mistrusted. In Miseducation, she paints herself as a warrior woman, doing battle against the oppressive "They": The ones who insisted that she get an abortion in "Zion." The ones who "shoot you down in the name of ambition" in "Forgive Them Father." Even as a very young woman—she was 23 at the time—she was acutely aware of the downfalls of being a superstar: "They'll hail you then they'll nail you," she sings in "Superstar," "…They'll make you now then take you down."

At times, her wariness borders on paranoia, with references to "wolves in sheep clothing" and warnings of "beware those who pretend to be brothers." And indeed, later, producers/songwriters Johari Newton, Rasheem Pugh, Vada Nobles and Tejumold Newton would sue her, claiming that they were co-creators on the album and deserved both credit and a cut of the action. (She later settled with the group for a reported $5 million.)

So perhaps it's no surprise that she took the estimated $25 million that she netted from the sales and merchandising of the triple-platinum-selling Miseducation—and ran.

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