Lauryn Hill is the world's greatest unhinged rapper-turned-singer. As part of the Fugees she came to worldwide fame, and then released a widely-loved solo album. But that was before she proceeded to bicker with her bandmates, give horrible live performances, and embark on a series of decisions that nearly torpedoed her career. Tonight she performs at the Hollywood Palladium. It could be amazing; it could be terrible. And so, in honor of the queen of hip-hop soul's shenanigans, here are her five most disasterous tendencies.
5. Living In Her Own World
Hill's self-centered tardiness is legendary — and to the point where she's often left her ol' Fugees pals, Pras and Wyclef, stranded on stage for three-quarters of an hour while she potters around elsewhere doing whatever it is she does all day. It's a lack of time-keeping and consideration for other people that irked her bandmates to the point where in 2007 Pras quipped to AllHipHop.com that there was more chance of getting Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush together for lattes at Starbucks than him ever working with her again.
4. Getting Eccentric On Stage
In 2007, Hill took to the stage at Oakland's Paramount Theater and proceeded to put on her most infamous live show. With her face plastered in red and blue make-up, and wearing an over-sized bag-lady style coat, she rambled and mumbled her way through the opening songs before falling over. At which point the crowd booed and calls for refunds filled the air.
3. Venting At The Vatican
For Christmas of 2003, Hill was invited to give a performance at the Vatican. She accepted — but apparently only so she could launch into a rant about alleged pedophile priests. So in front of nearly 7,000 audience members she dropped festive factoids like, “Who feels sorry for… the men, women and children damaged psychologically, emotionally and mentally by the sexual perversions and abuse carried out by the people they believed in?” Head of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, wasn't said to be much amused.
2. Following An Alleged Cult Leader
There comes a time in every rapping-and-singing artist's career when the pressure of fame, money, and having Wyclef on speed-dial becomes too much. So around the turn of the last millennium, Ms. Hill's answer to an uncertain period in her life was to start taking guidance from Brother Anthony, a spiritual advisor that her bandmate, Pras, characterized to Rolling Stone as being involved in some “real cult shit.” Shortly after placing herself under Anthony's wing, Hill fired her entire management team.
1. Breaking Down On Stage
In 2001, Hill recorded an Unplugged album for MTV. Sitting on a stool strumming an acoustic guitar, she started to unravel during the song “Peace of Mind.” Hill was in tears by the end of the rendition — and the waterworks seemed born of her own personal problems rather than the emotional pull of the lyrics. This idea of a personal breakdown was enhanced when elsewhere during the session she declared, “I'm crazy and deranged… I'm emotionally unstable.”