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Review: Lauryn Hill reestablishes her greatness in The Ms. Lauryn Hill & Fugees: Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th Anniversary Tour

Lauryn+Hill%2C+touring+as+Ms.+Lauryn+Hill+and+the+Fugees%2C+sings+Killing+Me+Softly+With+His+Song+alongside+former+band+member+Pras+Michel+Nov.+5.+The+engaging+visuals%2C+the+performers+and+the+crowds+energy+and+the+raw+vocals+made+this+concert+unforgettable.
Photo credit: Zoe Gazzuolo
Lauryn Hill, touring as Ms. Lauryn Hill and the Fugees, sings “Killing Me Softly With His Song” alongside former band member Pras Michel Nov. 5. The engaging visuals, the performers’ and the crowd’s energy and the raw vocals made this concert unforgettable.

Lauryn Hill released her first solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, August 25, 1998, forever changing the hip-hop and R&B genres. This album made history: it won Hill five Grammy Awards in one night, making her the first woman to attain this feat. It was the first hip-hop album to win “Album of the Year” at the Grammys. Even more than 20 years later, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” continues to break records. In 2021, Hill became the first female hip-hop artist to have her album be certified diamond for an approximated 10 million sales in America.

This undeniably influential and timeless album has remained relevant throughout the decades following its release, and to celebrate its ongoing legacy and 25th anniversary, Hill announced the Ms. Lauryn Hill & Fugees: Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th Anniversary Tour. I was lucky enough to attend this concert Nov. 5 at the Kia Forum

After waiting over two and a half hours, the show began with a video montage of Black artists and activists set to an upbeat and rousing instrumental number performed by Hill’s live band. Finally, as the music reached its peak, Hill stepped on stage in a red floor length leather trench coat, a matching bejeweled hat and huge sunglasses. She opened the first set with “Everything is Everything,” the perfect song to start the show. It set the tone for the rest of the concert, encouraging the audience to accept the inevitable ups and downs of life and trust the fact that everything serves a purpose.

Hill does not perform her songs live the same way they appear on the album. In an essay for Medium, she debunked the wide-spread rumor that the reason behind this is because she is not legally permitted to. “I revise and rearrange [my songs] according to what I’m feeling in that moment,” Hill said. “This way, my performances are heartfelt and authentic, not me just going through the motions.” 

As I see no flaws in the original recordings, I was initially nervous for these new renditions. I’m now ashamed to say I ever doubted Hill. During the live performance, she reimagined each song in a real and authentic way that added layers of depth and emotion, making every track feel more personal and impassioned. 

The setlist flowed perfectly and contrasted slower, sorrowful renditions with upbeat tracks, from the soulful and blue “Nothing Even Matters” to the jazzy and electrifying “Ex-Factor.” Later in the evening, Hill shifted from the contemplative “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” that featured only piano alongside her raw vocals, to the lively “I Used to Love Him,” with vibrant colors and pink beams lighting up the stadium.

To Zion” was easily the most emotional song of the night, with Hill’s heartfelt performance beautifully capturing the joys and sacrifices of motherhood. The old picture and video montage of her then-baby son Zion somehow made the Forum — filled with thousands of people — feel small and intimate.

After Hill finished the first set, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel — the other members of Fugees — joined her on stage. Together, they sang some of their biggest hits, including “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” “Fu-Gee-La,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “Ready or Not.” It felt like no time had gone by since they first released “The Score” in 1996. Not only did they sound amazing, but their chemistry and energy was palpable for everyone in the audience.

One of my favorite aspects of the concert was the wide range of guest artists that performed alongside Hill and Fugees that night. 

The first surprise appearance of the night was rapper Nas. He performed his two classics with Hill: “Nobody” and “If I Ruled the World.” In the most surprising and unexpected addition to the stage, Lil Wayne popped out and rapped a “Ready or Not” freestyle, later performing fan-favorite “A Milli,” much to my excitement. 

Finally, Cypress Hill joined the stage to sing and rap “Cowboys” alongside the concert headliners. I have to admit, this was the first time I had ever even heard of the song. Regardless, the energy and enthusiasm of the performers and crowd alike made this one of the most entertaining acts of the show.

Throughout the night, the concert’s visuals amplified the experience. Colorful beams of light bouncing around the stadium, personal and public video montages and quotes from Black scholars and poets, including W.E.B. Du Bois’s “the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression,” lit up the stadium and elevated each performance to the next level. 

Experiencing live the spectacle that was The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th Anniversary Tour and celebrating a transformational album, artist and movement was both a privilege and an honor. After this unforgettable night, I’m hoping for a 26th anniversary tour.

  • Engagement
  • Music
  • Technical Quality
  • Enjoyment
  • Impact
5

Summary

The Ms. Lauryn Hill & Fugees: Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 25th Anniversary Tour recognized and celebrated Hill’s solo debut album for its monumental and ongoing impact. The concert featured many surprise guest artists and was overall an unforgettable night.

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About the Contributor
Zoe Gazzuolo, Culture Editor
Zoe Gazzuolo joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became the Culture Editor in 2023. She plays tennis and joined the Archer Varsity team her freshman year. In her free time, she loves hanging out with friends, baking and listening to music.

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