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Looking back on a decade of Lauryn Hill's 'Miseducation'

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Laurynhillmiseducation_lWhen’s the last time you listened to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill? If it’s been a while, now might be a good time to locate your copy and see how it’s held up: As of this week, it’s been exactly 10 years since the album hit stores. Five Grammys and eight platinum plaques later — but with no full-length studio follow-up in sight — Miseducation has accrued an aura of untouchable greatness. And I’m not inclined to differ with that. Just consider this album’s influence on popular music. Amy Winehouse is all well and good, but can anyone doubt that Ms. Hill made her career possible? If you like hearing real soul of any description on mainstream radio, you basically have “Doo Wop (That Thing)” to thank. And L Boogie is still an all-time great emcee in my book just on the basis of “Lost Ones,” even if she’s showed little interest in actually rapping post-Miseducation. (On the other hand, I am also one of the vanishingly few people out there who will ride for her folky Unplugged album, cracking voice, basic chord sequences and all. At least I know Kanye’s with me on that.)

So who else is spinning Miseducation this week? If you’re want something to read while you re-listen, I recommend the oral history of the album’s creation and aftermath that Rolling Stone‘s Laura Checkoway recently put together. It’s a fascinating read, with insightful new input from nearly all the major players — though (spoiler alert!) the quotes from Ms. Hill herself are taken from a 1999 interview…