MusicSex & Gender

lauryn hill denies robert glasper’s accusations of stealing music, unprofessionalism

August 28, 2018
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Firing back at acclaimed jazz musician Robert Grasper, Ms. Lauyrn Hill penned a straight-forward essay addressing claims of plagiarism and over-hype. Glasper created quite a stir this summer when he came for the head of one of the most respect black women in R&B/soul by claiming that her historic album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill wasn’t actually the product of Hill’s creative expression and rather a collection of songs put together for her. Sacrilegious, right?

“The Miseducation was the first time I worked with musicians outside of the Fugees who’s report and working relationship was clear. In an effort to create the same level of comfort, I may not have established the necessary boundaries and may have been more inviting than I should have been. In hindsight, I would have handled it differently for the removal of any confusion. And I have handled it differently since, I’m clear and I make clear before someone walks in the door what I am and am not looking for. I may have been inclusive, but these are my songs,” Ms. Hill writes.

*Squinty eyes* Okaaaay. That seems fair enough, that she went into the project attempting to control the creativity and ended up not being clear. Seems fair. But this is kinda where Ms. Hill’s attempt at clearing the air begins to fizzle. In the 3,000 word essay, Ms. Hill goes on to address Glasper’s accusation that wages for additional musicians were slashed, artists being uncredited, and why she demands that folks address her as Ms. Hill: “And yes, Ms. Hill was absolutely a requirement. I was young, Black and female. Not everyone can work for and give the appropriate respect to a person in that package and in charge. It was important, especially then, for that to be revealed early.” Again, fair. As a black woman in the arts, it stands to reason that women like her need to demand and take the respect they are owed and this is one way she did that.

But while we’re talking about being treated with respect, what’s the reasoning behind her now infamous lateness, which many of her fans find disrespectful? “Me being late to shows isn’t because I don’t respect my fans or their time, but the contrary, It can be argued that I care too much, and insist on things being right. I like to switch my show up regularly, change arrangements, add new songs, etc.”

And this is where ‘ol girl lost me. I’m willing to imagine that enough people on this earth love The Miseducation so much that it doesn’t really matter who wrote it when we damn sure love the way that Ms. Hill recorded it. But like many to most professional musicians who perform concerts, arrangements do change. New shit gets added all the time. How does she think that her arrangements and whatever are somehow exempt from professionalism? “This often leads to long sound checks, which leads to doors opening late, which leads to the show getting a late start. This element of perfectionism is about wanting the audience to experience the very best and most authentic musical experience they can from what I do.”

She also claims that all artists working now are inspired by her, some beg to differ…

To wrap this -ish up, Ms. Hill’s attempt to clear the air and make everyone claro was… semi-helpful but more of the same, unfortunately. She doesn’t know if Glasper was speaking the truth in regards to cutting the pay of her touring musicians and doesn’t seem to fully take responsibility for anything.

It’s… a lot. But read it for yourself and decide what you think.