lauryn hill drops banging socio-political anthem “neurotic society (compulsory mix)”

May 6, 2013

Amongst a frenzy of court appearances, media headlines and blog posts, Lauryn Hill released new music this past Friday. On her Tumblr, she addressed her disliking for having to rush the release of new material, necessary in order to meet a legal deadline for which the court has given her until the end of this week to pay restitution for tax evasion.

Review by Justin Allen

Buoyed on the momentum of rapid percussion, “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)” finds Hill firing off rounds of rhyme-tied phrases aimed at the corrupt social context in which, and for which, the song was created. “Sensitive children, used up and sacrificed, blind to the consequence, smoked up in dope pipes,” she spits as vocal echoes and abrupt pauses accentuate her abrasive execution. Evident in the production, an assemblage of eclectic instrumentation and digital age sound effects, is Hill’s intent to critique the state of the modern world by way of the lens through which we experience it—that lens being chaos.

Also notable, the change in her sound on the new track, a departure from the conversational flow of her work with The Fugees, the soulful balladry of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and the equally raw and sublime rasp of MTV Unplugged No. 2.0. “Neurotic Society” shows her artistry evolving to address the severe crises of our current socio-political atmosphere. “In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked,” she writes on her Tumblr, referring to the passing of the late Kriss Kross member. Perhaps subsequent music will find Hill returning to a more familiar sound. Perhaps she’ll continue with a sonic evolution. Regardless, given its message, it’s safe to say this is exactly what the radio needs.

L Boogie is back.

* Justin Allen is an undergraduate writing student at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts. He currently works as a contributing writer for AFROPUNK as well as writes for a zine, BAD GRAMMAR, that he produces in collaboration with friends Yulan Grant and Brandon Owens.