When The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill hit shelves in 1998, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a disbeliever, or, better yet, someone who couldn’t recite every word of “Doo Wop (That Thing)” on command. Today, Hill remains one of our generation’s most iconic and revered emcees, capable of spitting rhymes one minute and belting soulful, honeyed harmonies the next. Cutting her chops in the Fugees alongside Wyclef Jean and Pras, Hill was quickly recognized as a force to be reckoned with within the music community. And since her solo debut, Hill has sold more than seven million copies worldwide, with Miseducation being named one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone.
This Saturday, Hill wraps up her long-awaited return to the stage with a performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Dubbed the Moving Target: Extended Intimate Playdate Series, the tour finds Hill scaling back and sharing music from a portion of her life that, she says, “the world, for the most part, has not had access to.”
“I’ve never shied away from being musically adventurous, nor am I known for being a lightweight when it comes to lyrical content or musical exploration,” she goes on to say in a statement for Moving Target. “These more intimate playdates afford me the time to perform for listeners who haven’t heard from me over the past several years. … Getting back out there to perform is a lot like resuming a strenuous sport after having been away from it for a while, but eventually the muscle memory kicks in and each day brings progressive strength. It’s an exciting and real process, which these audiences will get to witness.”
Wielding reworked versions of some of Miseducation’s best-known tracks, as well as a handful of Fugees numbers and cover songs, Hill has crafted a setlist that pays homage to her past and, most importantly, reasserts her role in music today. Here’s hoping it’ll also be the gateway to Miseducation’s long-awaited follow-up.
Lauryn Hill plays the Santa Barbara Bowl this Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. Call 962-7411 or visit sbbowl.com for tickets and info.