Last week, Lauryn Hill celebrated the 20th anniversary of her monumental debut, and only, album The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, but the occasion has come with accusations of plagiarism, specifically from pianist and producer Robert Glasper. And now she’s hit back.
In a recent interview with Houston’s KBXX, as Pitchfork points out, Glasper not only accused Hill of “stealing music” but also accused her of cutting her touring band members’ pay whenever she wanted and firing musicians right before shows.
Now, Hill was published an essay in response, addressing all of the above and more, titled ‘Addressing Robert Glasper and other common misconceptions about me (in no particular order).’
“It’s not completely informed, but he’s entitled to his perception. Context certainly helps though,” she writes.
“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.”
On the topic of cutting pay and firing with late-notice, Hill had this to say.
“And I definitely don’t like to fire anyone. It did take me meeting a lot of people over a number of years to find the right musicians, but my current band has been with me for a long time, the newest members probably 2/3 years, some as long as 7/8 years now. I was looking for a similar natural chemistry with new musicians that I’d had with the Fugees and Miseducation bands. I’d literally grown up with some of those musicians. That isn’t easy to find.”
“When you’re a popular artist or public figure, people can sometimes forget that you’re hiring them to perform a service, and that you’re not the one there to entertain THEM. I didn’t scream or yell. Maybe I didn’t provide the experience that a musician may have wanted or expected during that time, but I was straight-forward, direct, and about the business at hand.”
“I’m confused as to why such a principled musician, who thought I ‘stole’ from his friends, would show up to work for me anyway.”