Greetings. I’m DJ Michele. Every Friday at 9pm I host a show called Nite Life on KEXP. I choose danceable sets of new and old music for 3 hours. Then at 12 o’clock I do the Midnight Album Feature where I bring you tracks and stories on one of the world’s finest records.
This Friday’s Midnight Album Feature is Lauryn Hill‘s 1998 release The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. A landmark album for women everywhere. With this debut release, Lauryn was the first female performer to win five grammy awards in one year. The record came out right after her breakup with the Fugees and the opening track, “Lost Ones,” is where she calls out someone she worked with who she has lost respect for. She says “You might win some, but you just lost one.” “Superstar” is also a song that calls out to a fellow artist. Sassy! Wise.
This record reminds me of my grandmother. In these lyrics Lauryn shows her capacity for graciousness. And my grandmother taught me always to be gracious. It seems like a simple lesson, but Gram said, “It never hurts to be gracious.” She also taught me to put myself in the other person’s shoes before judging someone. Lauryn, like my grandma, is religious. I am not religious. To me, religion is like music — if you’re sincere, it works. If you’re not sincere it doesn’t work. My grandma and grandpa ran a food bank in the ghetto for 12 years. They travelled to a church far away from their home so they could help “people who were having a hard time.” And way before it was popular to be inclusive, they had friends of all colors at their dinner parties. Gram’s words were “We’re all the same color inside.” Lauryn seems to have the same attitude in “Forgive Them Father” (which, appropriately, samples the great wise man Bob Marley).
I saw Lauryn recently in the DVD Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. And among all the hip-hop acts that performed Lauryn was the only one that the audience watched in silence. A whole block of NYC stopped in their tracks by the voice of Lauryn Hill. It’s something to see.
Join DJ Michele Myers every Friday night at 9pm for Nite Life on KEXP.