Ms. Lauryn Hill In Santa Barbara: The First Lady Of Hip-Hop Injects Energy Into Her Hits And Bob Marley Favorites
She hit the stage in an explosion of bombastic energy and admiration from a moonlit Santa Barbara crowd…
Ms. Lauryn Hill- the First Lady of Hip-Hop– is known for releasing one of the epic records in that genre, of all-time, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” She was also the female member of the legendary super group The Fugees (with Wyclef Jean and Pras). She disappeared out of the main stream and has been rarely heard from, while having a family with Rohan Marley– the son of reggae icon Bob Marley.
One could not help think, during the night, that is is a wonderful thing that Lauryn Hill is back on the scene. It can only be speculated how epic new material from the songstress would be. In this writers opinion, there have been few albums in the past 10 years which have matched the creativity and groundbreaking writing of Miseducation. Hill is almost too talented for her own good. Her recent tendency to be late for shows has cast a negative light on her in the press. But, waiting for this kind of talent is something that fans have been able to put up with, over the years (see Axl Rose).
Hill featured a DJ, who spun records, while fans were waiting for the diva to arrive. A certain Santa Barbara woman was prancing around at the front of the stage, “dirty dancing” with members of the Bowl security and creating quite a buzz in the outdoor arena. As the DJ spun reggae and hip hop classics, many of the 3/4ths full arena was up and dancing.
Known for being mercurial and enigmatic, fans wondered how long they would have to wait for the immensely talented diva to come out. But, Hill eventually (after about a 45 minute wait) busted onto the scene, excitedly waving her arms and moving to a funk vibe, laid down by her extraordinary band. A musical perfectionist, she periodically turned and frantically shouted instruction or waved creative orders to her musicians.
There was no lack of artistic energy or power, as Hill asked the coastal town’s crowd if they were, “ready for some classics?” She followed with a banging rendition of Miseducation’s “Everything Is Everything,” to a hyped up rhythm. “Lost Ones” was soon to follow in the same dynamic, deep-rooted reggae influenced cadence.
There is a growing rumor, circulating around, that Hill is pregnant with her sixth child. She seems to have been dropping hints during this tour. No official announcement has yet been made.
As the moon rose behind the Santa Barbara Bowl, Hill continued through a kinetic set, which featured more selections from her popular album, reworked hits from The Fugees and 3 crowd-favorite covers of Bob Marley’s music.
The highlight of the night was when the rebel in Lauryn Hill came forth. The Bowl has a long standing rule of no music after 10pm. Hill blew through the curfew like it was a light that had just turned yellow as “suits” stood by the stage, visibly uncomfortable and cranky. Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved,”- that she had performed just days earlier on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon- was the track that extended into the forbidden zone. As a statement of her strength and strong will, Hill then defiantly launched into “Doo Wop (That Thing),” giving the audience what they wanted and causing management to flip on the house lights to force her show to a close.
There is obviously a vast pool of genius that this artist still needs to share with the world. Ms. Lauryn Hill- we will be waiting for the birth of some brand new music from you. The industry waits…
Rapper Murs also opened the night with a positive set of rhymes and smiles from the entering crowd.