Lauryn Hill has been largely irrelevant for quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Lauryn Hill fan. Obviously, Hill was great with the Fugees, and then her one solo album was universally loved. But, can you even call what she has a career at this point? Since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill she has only released an unplugged album, a handful of singles, and toured very sporadically (tours which ironically price out the communities she claims to support).
But in music, talent rarely just up and disappears. Whether an artist is being derailed by drugs, prison, self-imposed hiatus, etc., there always seems to be a little left in the tank which us fans pile hope upon hope will present itself. “Black Rage” is one such case to make us believe.
“Black Rage” combines two of my favorite things (no pun intended): Lauryn Hill and the melody for Roger and Hammerstein’s classic from The Sound of Music, “My Favorite Things”. “Black Rage” is apparently not a particularly new song, as it’s been performed live by Hill since 2012, although there seem to be a few lyric tweaks to more aptly describe what’s going on specifically in Ferguson, MO and not just black America.
The production of “Black Rage” is a little rough. Apparently she recorded it in her living room. But there is a nice dose of atmospheric child-like noises to add to a pretty basic recording. Also appreciated is Hill making the song her own even though it goes pretty linearly with the original. There is plenty of Lauryn Hill meat on the bone so her personality does come through, lyrically and musically.
It’s refreshing to know this song is Lauryn Hill to her core, love her or hate her, and not just a manipulation of current events to garner attention for herself. Hill still has a lot to say and certainly more than capable of being the giant everyone thought she would be, so now it’s only a matter of whether she wants it for herself.