Ms. Lauryn Hill at University of Miami November 5

Just like Ms. Whitney Houston, former Fugees frontwoman and diva of the new millennium Ms. Lauryn Hill was a mind-blowingly successful pop star and actress who freaked out under the pressure of her own fame. But where Whitney disappeared into a billion-dollar mansion and ten thousand hits off the crack pipe, Hill simply slipped into a strange vortex of self-imposed exile, apparent creative paralysis, and cultish spiritual trips.

It's been 12 years since The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, those five Grammys, and her last movie role. And though certain people — including Rohan Marley, Bob's son and her five kids' father — claim she's been quietly amassing a monumental cache of unrecorded neo-soul classics written on toilet paper (no joke), the evidence is slim. Her only recent attempts at re-entering the pop circus have been a cameo in Dave Chappelle's Block Party, an aborted Fugees reunion, some scattered singles such as "Lose Myself" from the animated film Surf's Up, and sporadic live sets like this summer's Rock the Bells tour.

So it's hard to say when, if ever, the Empress might cough up a sophomore solo album. And it's pointless to speculate. For now, we should just be happy that Lauryn Hill is even leaving her house.


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