Lauryn Hill | Brown Suga

You took those simple sentences to which so many can relate and added the perfect melody—music completely in sync with the lyrics’ emotion.

 

 

 

Sometimes in writing a love letter, I try to use my own words to sum up all the reasons why an artist is unique, but I’ve never used their words—until now.  

Dear Lauryn,

I remember when I first heard you singing, “Ooh la, la, la it’s the way that rock when we’re doing our thing” as you and two guys ran through city streets. Then there was the song that came on The Box all of the time; you and those same two guys were sitting in the movie theater while you were fixated on how he was strumming your pain with his fingers, killing you softly. One day I caught the group’s name, The Fugees, whose members included Wyclef, Pras, and Lauryn. I’m sure at six years old I had no idea what “strumming my pain with his fingers” or “singing my life with his words,” meant, but intrinsically I had a connection with this female voice.

To classify your voice as unique would be such an understatement of the dynamic richness that is your sound. Though I had heard many of your singles from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in the ‘90s when they were new and dominating TV and radio airwaves, 2006 was when I really came to appreciate the words you wrote. “Ex-Factor” is my favorite song of yours, period. It describes exactly the various stages of a relationship.

“It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard. Loving you is like a battle and we both end up with scars. Tell me,” you demanded ever so softly, “who I have to be to get some reciprocity.” You took those simple sentences to which so many can relate and added the perfect melody—music completely in sync with the lyrics’ emotion.

It’s still so amazing to me that with this album you produced such great art that no one can replicate it, even today. Oh, how I miss MTV’s Unplugged because your episode showcased just how passionate you are about love, people, and society. 

You have done more in just two albums than most musicians have done in many more releases. Hats off to you for teaching us how to grow with music and be better because of it. You taught us about love and how to express it in many different realms, whether it is love for our partners or for refugees. Finally, you taught us that greatness only comes sporadically, and when we see it, we should hold on tight and relish all that it has to offer. So for those lessons and epiphanies, you are brown suga and we will sprinkle with care.

XOXO,

A.

I’ve shared my love letter now I want you to share yours too. Email me at intern@playbackstl.com and tell me your story of how you fell in love with music.

 

 

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