From The Vault: Lauryn Hill – ‘Ex Factor’

Published: Sunday 28th Oct 2012 by David

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?

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  1. the real xoxo October 28, 2012

    one of my favourite artists of all time. One of the best hip hop/r&b albums of all time.
    How did we go from “Loving you is like a battle, and we both end up in scars” to
    “Lets go to the beach beach” “ooohh i wanna f*** you right now”
    Lauryn represents everything good about hip hop music.

    • RIHANNA NAVY October 28, 2012

      Love Ms Hill so much. The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is one of the best Hip Hop albums if not the best and is a classic. She sure can make a comeback with the right material and visuals. L Boogie fan until the death of me.

  2. the real xoxo October 28, 2012

    and yes I think she can achieve a comeback. alot of people are anticipating her return if it ever happens. when you have fans of all ages, genders and backgrounds you have nothing to worry about.
    if your audience is 8-18 year olds you can easily be replaced.

  3. zeus October 28, 2012

    so many errors in this article… the sample is from ” The way we were” by Babara Streisand… and more importantly the Music industry is and has always been made up of all types not juts those like Lauryn Hill and juts stop it….

    Rihanna rules this site

  4. MC October 28, 2012

    This song is still fire! I love this album so much. And yes Lauryn can make a comeback if she has the right material, visual, and concept like she did with this album. And Drakeisha has the audacity to say she was the 1st person to rap and sing successfully; clearly she needs to sit her ass down to listen to this album.

  5. JAKE October 28, 2012

    She is one of the GREATEST Singer-Songwriter, Rapper, Lyricist and Poetess of our time…….

    Even the Legendary force that is Sir. Bob Dylan has praised her and said that her work is ‘Ethereal’ and ‘Out of this World’ at presedential Gala last year.

    So, I say “F*** YES”.

    I couldnt care less about her commercial footing and success or her personal life (unless its self-destructive) … I just want to hear and feel her TRUE musical artistry and have the accolades and acclaim come her way once again.


  6. Monstarebel October 28, 2012


  7. DOSSOME October 28, 2012

    I will wait for Lauryn until she feels she’s ready to make music again…If she never hits the studio again,I have “MISEDUCATION” to listen to,coz the album is pure genius.I’ll always love and respect this woman for staying true to herself and for this album that epitomises GREAT music…

  8. De’ Shon Marquise Tave October 28, 2012

    This is an excellent article… from music to Ms. Hill, WOW. But I’m definitely up for her comeback, especially if she gets her dreads & clothing style back… She needs a glam squad.. She’s been performing lately and honestly (as a #1 fan) the pipes ain’t ready, & she’s singing too fast… i want her to do it right, because thats what’s EXPECTED from LAURYN HILL, QUALITY. ;D

  9. Deshon Tave October 28, 2012

    Think about it, SHE SET THE BAR HIGH WITH THE MISEDUCATION, & if she drops it, it’ll ruin her image… but i think she has and will pull all of her greatness together..

  10. CURLY SUE October 28, 2012

    Lauryn Hill is never coming back. She’s too far gone mentally. It’s been dam near 15 years since we’ve had a studio album from her. BUT if she were to come back, of course she would sell just off of her name. Her vocals are no longer there, judging by her performances and she HAAAAATES the industry. The Miseducation IS one of the greatest albums of all time (I still listen to it as if it were just released), but for now I believe that it’s the only gem we’ll have from her… :-/

  11. Peter Griffin October 28, 2012

    As long as she doesn’t start wearing a blonde wig and Redone is no where to be seen on her production credits I’d more than welcome a comeback.

  12. SHARON October 28, 2012

    i dont know. “The Miseducation” is such a classic! I just want it to stay that way. this industry is so f***** up! I dont want it to effect her image.

  13. SHARON October 28, 2012

    BUT! if she does come back. she would definitely garn success and acclaim like she always had because of her amazing artistry.

  14. LEGENDARY KING B October 28, 2012

    No she’s washed up and a hasbeen nicki minaj already took her and krimmle spot.

    • ADC143 October 28, 2012

      How old are you, 12?

    • SHARON October 28, 2012

      Delusional piece of s***!!

  15. CzarM October 28, 2012

    Lauryn could have had a long, prosperous career and probably would’ve remained at the top of her game for at least the first 10 years after her solo debut. Most artists like Lauryn, Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys are severely overlooked and never achieve mainstream success, because they are deemed not commercial enough, but every few years one will come out at just the *right* time when the industry is looking for someone ‘credible’ to promote, and will become an unlikely pop star.

    For whatever reason, though, she clearly didn’t want that kind of lasting celebrity and opted out of her fame at its height. If she had staged a comeback by no later than like 2006, she probably could have restored her celebrity and essentially picked up where she left off…but I think she’s now missed the cut off date now. Yeah she could always come back and, on a smaller scale, play to the nostalgia fans she still has left — but the industry stopped waiting on her return years ago, and at this point wouldn’t shower her with the praise and adoration to make a full scale “come back.” Too much time has past. The bandwagon/casual fans she had back then have now grown up and moved on.

    It’s sad, because at one point she had the music world in her pocket and was celebrated in the same way someone like Adele is today. Like I said, she could have remained a commercial power broker for many years, but she chose to turn in her key and walk away. And sometimes when you walk away, there’s no coming back.

    • kevin October 28, 2012

      Tell that to Sade Adu.

      • CzarM October 28, 2012

        Not the same. Sade was consistent for the first decade of her career. She released new albums every few years, building up a body of work that made her credible with both fans and the industry. It was in part because she worked steadily from 1984 to 1993 that she cemented status as an icon and built up a large stable of enduring fans who’re willing to wait on her to the point where she can now take decade long hiatuses and come back to love and affection.

        Great as Lauryn’s music was, she hasn’t built up a big enough body of work that gives her credit and wiggle room to go away for long stretches and then come back to a welcome. It takes at least three successful studio albums to prove that you’re not just a flash in the pan, and to give you an idea of how devoted your fans are.

  16. MsThing485 October 28, 2012

    Lauryn was immensely talented, made excellent music and had tons of charisma performing on stage, but she just didn’t have a star personality. Meaning she didn’t crave the spotlight, she didn’t eat up attention, she didn’t play to the camera’s, she didn’t like answering questions about herself. Most of the time, people like that don’t last longer than a few years. Celebrity overwhelms them to the point where they become paranoid, bitter and reclusive. They’ll end up running away from fame and that’s what she did. Lauryn didn’t have the mental state to keep her star back then and 15 years later I doubt much has changed. We’ll just have to treat the Fugees and her solo material as wonderful time capsules of their day.

  17. V – Jay, Jay October 28, 2012

    Yep, she can make a comeback. The fact that people are still flocking to see her concert regardless of presentation or reviews, and the fact that she is basically singing the same songs for the debut.

    The anticipation would be too much, but due to the magnificent nature of the Misseducation albumn the fall would be harder if it didn’t garner even a fraction of its success.

  18. kevin October 28, 2012

    After conforming under pressure by her label to take credit for everything it had to be publically humiliating for her to admit she participated in covering up others involvement on the record especially after it’s huge commercial success. I believe that in tangent with personal insecurities are what’s hampering her comeback.

  19. bibi93 October 28, 2012

    Lauryn’ hill’s Hit single ex-factor is a classic!!

  20. what? October 28, 2012


    U have NO idea what ur saying. Lauryn was absolutely a star and had a sold out arena tour to prove it. She chose to walk away.

    She has talked about the fact that she didnt handle fame well. She calls herself a “pioneer spirit”. Se does what SHE wants to do.

    It is a testament to her talent that she can still sell tickets in 5,000 seat venues even though she hasnt put out an album in over 10 yrs.

    She is simpley the GREATEST singer/songwriter of her generation and easily the greatest female rapper of all time. No shade to MC Lyte or Latifah but Lauryn is just the best lyticist.

    Adele, Beyonce, Alicia, Keri Hilson, Jesse J & Amy Winehouse are on record as saying Lauryn was an influence.

    Adele is on record as saying the Miseducation is her favorite album of all time. Youtube it. She said it on camera.

    Lauryn can come back whenever she wants. She has to get her personal life in order but she will be back….. trust!!!!

  21. B4REAL02 October 29, 2012

    uggghhhhh….I miss this Lauryn…..we are ready for a comeback

  22. over her October 29, 2012

    Waited for the next album to long, im over this crazy b****!

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