I used to love Her...

As Lauryn Hill Week continues here on GhettoManga, I figure it's about time I shared some art along with the youTubery...
The mural above (entitled, simply Lauryn) was painted by Polish graf artist SNOE, lest ye sleep on the worldwide reach of this hip hop isht...
the death of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. (as well as cats like Big Punisher and Big L that only real heads know) cast a dark cloud over hip hop in the late nineties... but the multi-platinum sales of the Fugees' second album The Score and unqualified success of Lauryn's solo record really had rap nerds and assorted hip hop heads feeling good about the future of this rap shit...
Portrait of Lauryn Hill by zimbolimbo
Unfortunately, while we were still hung over from it all, Lauryn pulled up stakes and vanished... before long, thug rap became the new pop, and radio convinced the masses that they didn't like smart rappers (again). Many of the true emcees left starting feeling pressure (whether real or imagined) to dumb it down, or be banished to the underground, never to return. The faithful among us always pointed to the success of Lauryn (and the Fugees) as a modern example of the masses flocking to dope, conscious rhyming in droves. "But don't forget" skeptics said "Lauryn can sing, too..." implying that Lauryn's success had to do with lots of other things besides the fact that she could rhyme your favorite rapper under the table.
Maybe they're right. In addition to being one of the best emcees we've ever seen, Lauryn was also a fabulous vocalist and songwriter. It didn't hurt that she looked like a supermodel, either... maybe her success was a perfect storm that is nigh impossible to duplicate. How many of her fans were riding with us purely for her movie-star looks and fashion sense, and couldn't care less about her back-packer rap skills? 
Let's say they do. That the world really IS starving for raps with substance. We've still got to face the very real probability that after all this time, the Lauryn we remember is gone, buried with BIG and 2pac... even if the NPR interview, and the Rock The Bells Tour, and the (maybe) new (but likely just unreleased) track really do mean she's coming back, will any possible new joints she releases show a continued passion for conscious rhyme writing draped over the top of street-cred-sustaining, cypher-smashing, face-palm-inducing spittery? Will a mother of five who's been outta the game this long even care about these increasingly invisible true school hip hop values? I'm not holding my breath or anything...
but damn, I hope so...
-samax

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