Lauryn Hill just shared the heartbreaking reason she has not released another studio album since her 1998 solo debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
The former Fugees member was the first woman to win five Grammys in one night for the album, but left the public eye for years after its release. In a new interview with Rolling Stone‘s Amazon Music podcast 500 Greatest Albums, Lauryn explained why she never released another full studio album.
“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, ever…ever,” she told the podcast. “Did I say ever? Ever!”
She also said that while Miseducation offered her the freedom to experiment, the pressure of putting out a sophomore album that would live up to the first’s hype was enormous.
“After the Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations and saboteurs everywhere,” she said. “People had included me in their own narratives of their successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
Lauryn did release a live album of folk and soul songs from her MTV Unplugged special in 2002. The album received middling reviews, with some criticizing Lauryn for being too self-indulgent by speaking about her personal and artistic struggles in between songs. However, in recent years, some critics have reevaluated the album. Artists like Kanye West and A$AP Rocky even sampled tracks from Unplugged in their own music.
Though Lauryn has mainly kept out of the public eye, she did embark on several tours following Unplugged, including one with her former bandmates from the Fugees, which ended before they could record another album.
Whatever is next for Lauryn, Miseducation‘s powerful legacy still lives on.
“My intention was simply to make something that made my foremothers and forefathers in music and social and political struggle know that someone received what they had sacrificed to give us, and to let my peers know that we could walk in that truth, proudly and confidently,” she explained on the podcast. “At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so.”