Image Credit: Brendon Thorne/Getty ImagesWhen Lauryn Hill gives a live performance as well-received as the one she did at the Rock the Bells tour’s Aug. 21 stop in San Bernardino, Calif., it’s worth paying attention. It’s not that she’s never given concerts over the past decade. (Pictured to your left is her performance this January at Sydney, Australia’s Raggamuffin Festival.) But since Hill’s de facto retirement, fairly or not, it’s often been said that her live act has become inconsistent, unreliable, not what it once was. Consider her Rock the Bells performance this weekend a major piece of evidence against that theory.
Hill joined a dream team of rap legends in San Bernardino. Snoop Dogg, Slick Rick, the Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, and others each performed one of their best-loved albums start to finish. Hill only has one solo studio album to her name, of course, but she didn’t stick to that limitation, performing a selection of Fugees and solo hits. MTV News’ on-the-scene report makes it sound like a pretty great set list, including sped-up versions of “Lost Ones,” “Doo Wop (That Thing),” “To Zion,” “Ready or Not,” and “Fu-Gee-La.” “This was not a woman who some reports had labeled ‘crazy,'” writes MTV’s Shaheem Reid. “Lauryn was lucid and dancing and appeared to be enjoying herself.”
One solid concert doesn’t necessarily mean Lauryn Hill is ready to return to public life full-time. The same goes for the recent Billboard debut of “Repercussions,” a leaked tune of indeterminate age whose No. 94 spot on the Hot 100 marked the first time she’d been on that chart as a lead artist since 1999. Still, it’s hard not to see these as good signs. Let’s hope this latest flurry of news heralds a major comeback, complete with new music worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill or even her underrated MTV Unplugged set.
After the jump, check out an extremely shaky video of Hill rocking “Lost Ones” (clip via Rap Radar). Were you at this show? How was it? Are you ready for Lauryn Hill to come back?
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