Music 101: Life Lessons and Lauryn Hill. Our Re-Education on Love.
Written By: LaZedrick Blackshire
COSIGN Magazine @blusatire
Music has evolved throughout the ages and much as changed. Some of us like to dibble/dabble in the ratchet music enabling us to, “Turn Up” as the young folk call it these days. Some of us like trap music, and hearing those stories and compilations of exploits of money, cars, clothes, and women. Some like to vibe to the baby-making ballads of the 90’s, or old school songs mama used to sing when she was cleaning up on Saturdays. Music is the pathway to the soul and it connects us all in some way, but it does so much more than that. Many of us overlook music’s ability to teach us lessons, touch the depths of our souls, and can tell us everything about our lives better than we can explain to ourselves. This series Music 101, will explore some lessons I have learned from albums throughout the years using The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill as the first example. Along with notoriety of this great piece of work, there is a display of self-reflection that the listener can incorporate into their lives.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
To get five Grammys from your debut album should tell you all you need to know. The album itself is significant because it demonstrates how a woman could take over the Hip Hop game, all the while expressing her truth. Lauryn poured out her soul so that you could feel every melody, every metaphor, and every story she told. Even the many skits about love resonated with me. This album taught the cycle of love, heartbreak, and how to love yourself continuously. Taught to never let that heartbreak or beliefs of society consume or change you. From the moment “Lost Ones” started off, “it’s funny how money can change the situation” she is telling us, do your dirt and be the snake in the garden. Is your loss greater than your gain? Some of these same sentiments are expressed in “Superstar”.
We all know that “Ex-factor” is on the playlist of every black woman in America, and probably somebody’s ringtone right now saved under DO NOT ANSWER. “Ex-Factor” implanted in my brain that when we love hard, we do not want to let that special thing go. All the while not realizing that the same person we give all our to, may be the same person that hurts us. Despite how much we show them our love and our potential…. it just won’t work. The lesson is sometimes learning to let go of what we love. But the most important lesson of the album was self-love. “That Thing (Doo-Wop)” and “Everything is Everything” were the pioneers of respecting and loving yourself. One line that resonated was “don’t be a hard rock when you truly are a gem”. Treat yourself like the royalty that you are. Although this message is generally geared toward women, this is an essential and relevant lesson of life for anyone walking this earth.
“How you gon win when you ain’t right within?” Lauryn comes back to reiterate this moral of self-love and self-care so that it sticks. This is also another lesson my people need to absorb. You have to be right with yourself, and God, and give what you want in order to receive the best. This album was in heavy rotation during a crucial part of my life when I did not understand what love was and what it meant to me. Lauryn understood, that it hurts when you love someone that you know is wrong for you. You question why you love this person so much, and why they do not reciprocate. She understood that you will continue to love the people that hurt you, you will have your heart broken, and will experience sadness, but despite this you will overcome it. You have to focus on self-love first and the rest will come.
That concludes this session of Music 101. At the end of the day, self-love is the best love. We are often miseducated on who we should be, how we should love, and what we should expect with from others. We hide who we are in order to be accepted by society and lose ourselves in the process. But why conform and why be ashamed of who we are. Love every flaw and detail about yourself…despite what society has taught us.