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What the hell happened to Lauryn Hill?

It was ten years ago this month that Lauryn Hill released the brilliant The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, the debut album that scored her an unprecented amount of Grammy nominations for a woman. Hill was intelligent and beautiful, poised to be pop’s next savior.

But then the former Fugee went AWOL, resurfacing only to release a sad follow-up album and perform a smattering of uneven concerts. Her much ballyhooed reunion with the Fugees came and went with her former bandmates saying out loud that Hill was troubled.

Teresa Wiltz at The Root has some theories about the nature of Hill’s problems in this piece.

Wiltz cites several issues over the past decade:
* Hill’s inability to deal with her initial fame bordered on paranoia
* Hill’s fanatical religious faith had her in the throes of a cult-like character
* Her love life – including a rocky affair with Wyclef Jean and a disastrous relationship with Rohan Marley, son of famed reggae star Bob Marley. – is too volatile for her to be productive.

Others – but not Wirtz- speculate that the problem is more simple: drugs.

Hill’s recent performance in Brooklyn had her arrive onstage two hours late and then blanking out on lyrics. Videos of the show pepper YouTube with fans leaving comments showing concern for Hill’s well being.

I’m sad about Hill’s decline. I wrote about her a lot back when I was a music critic and she released the breathtaking Miseducation. I had pretty big expectations – which I see now is enough to make someone crack: having the world expect you to save pop music.

I hope Hill will get out of all of this in one piece, not so she can make music, just so she can live a less erratic life.

Do you worry about Lauryn Hill?

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