Inside "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"

Lawsuits. Grammys. A tiny attic studio in New Jersey. An oral history of the hip-hop classic on its tenth anniversary.

LAURA CHECKOWAYPosted Aug 26, 2008 2:25 PM

"To Zion"

Jackson: She called me and sang a verse of "Zion" and I was literally in tears. I went through that with her as a friend, Wendy Williams blowing her spot about her pregnancy on the radio. No one knew! It was definitely a Where's Waldo moment 'cause no one knew who Lauryn was dating.

Marley: She ended up having a child from myself and ones telling her she need to abort the child. Those songs, it's all her experience.

Che Vicious: I'd gotten into a bunch of Spanish records. I lived in a brownstone in Brooklyn and there was this little studio apartment on the top floor that didn't have air conditioning. I could only go in there for 20 minutes at a time to make tracks because it was too hot. And one of those 20 minutes is when I made "Zion." I came in with the track and Lauryn teared up and said, "I have this idea to do a song about my baby and I didn't know what the music should sound like until I heard that track."

Nobles: Out of all the records, "Zion" was her baby because it was about her child. Can't nobody interfere with that right there. That drum roll inspired Kanye's "Jesus Walks," I know it did!

Commissioner Gordon: I remember the first time she sang "To Zion" to me I almost started crying on the spot. Che put together a drum loop and she came over right next to me at the board and started singing "Zion" in my ear. These circumstances she's singing about I know first hand. I'm at the label hearing everybody say, "How's this girl gonna get pregnant now?!" Then Carlos [Santana] played his guitar in Miami at Circle House Studios. It was a swap. She wanted Carlos to play "Zion" and she did a song for Supernatural.

"Doo Wop (That Thing)"

Nobles: There was a box set that said "doo wop" sitting on the floor — the title for her single "Doo Wop (That Thing)" came off that box. We were making a song warning women about slick men, but there's some bad girls out here, so we gotta tell both sides. I thought the music was cheesy, it wasn't hard enough, so I put a really heavy drum in there just to give it some edge, something hip-hop.



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