From The Vault this week journeys back to the year 1998, when a newly-solo Lauryn Hill released her signature ballad, ‘Ex-Factor’.
Released during that year’s last quarter, ‘Ex’ was the second single lifted from the artist’s magnum-opus ‘The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill’ - an LP hailed by many as one of the albums ever released. Written and produced entirely by Lauryn herself – as was the case with the vast majority of the LP – it tells the tale of a draining relationship from which the singer wants. Due to their rather public fall-out (over Hill going solo) the song’s theme caused the masses to question whether she was referring to ex-boyfriend and former collaborator Wyclef Jean.
The track, which is built around a sample of Wu Tang Clan‘s ‘Can It Be All So Simple’, though not as successful as its #1 predecessor ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’ still managed to peak at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the Billboard R&B and fared even better on the UK tally where it charted at #4.
The Malik Sayeed directed visual does a great job capturing the moody vibe of the song and illustrating the dynamic of the fragile relationship relayed in the lyrics. It’s little wonder, then, that the clip is still a regular on music channels.
Undeniably, Hill’s fans have been waiting for a proper follow-up to the masterpiece that is ‘The Miseducation’. Judging by the quality of some of modern music, we’d say the industry is in need of another release from the singer-rapper. The rise of artists such as the late Amy Winehouse, Adele (two of the best selling artists of the last 10 years) and Gotye (‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ is among the best-selling digital singles of all time) has proven that the world is still hungry for real talent whose output concentrates on the music and the music only. Also, Lauryn’s ‘thing’ was never about gimmicks, rent-a-rappers or jumping on the latest musical bandwagon, just some pristine art in musical form. We feel like, with the right set of songs, Ms. Hill could be back on top in no time, but the question is, do you?
Can Lauryn Hill achieve a comeback in today’s day and age?