During an interview on a Houston radio station earlier this month, Robert Glasper aired a long list of grievances and allegations against Ms. Lauryn Hill. Glasper, a Grammy-winning jazz and R&B artist who’s worked with the likes of Kanye West and Common, accused Hill of stealing music for her groundbreaking 1998 album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and frequently mistreating her band members. Now, in a lengthy statement posted on Medium, Hill has addressed the allegations and concerns brought up by Glasper.
Throughout her message, Hill repeatedly maintains that she didn’t mistreat the musicians she hired — only that she demanded their best so that she could put out her best. “I’m definitely looking for something specific in musicians, and I absolutely do hire the best musicians I can find,” writes Hill. “Not every band had that particular ‘something’ I was looking for. That doesn’t make them bad musicians, just different than what I needed in that particular moment.”
“When you’re a popular artist or public figure, people can sometimes forget that you’re hiring them to perform a service, and that you’re not the one there to entertain THEM,” she adds. “I didn’t scream or yell. Maybe I didn’t provide the experience that a musician may have wanted or expected during that time, but I was straight-forward, direct, and about the business at hand.” Regarding that “experience,” Hill admits that she perhaps “may not have established the necessary boundaries” with those musicians when recording Miseducation as it was her first time working with musicians outside of the Fugees.
Hill never outright denies the accusations about stealing music, simply writing: “I’m confused as to why such a principled musician, who thought I ‘stole’ from his friends, would show up to work for me anyway.” She dismisses Glasper’s statements against her as “arrogant” and “presumptuous,” adding, “The arrogance of presumption that allows someone to think that they could have all the facts about another person’s life and experience, is truly and remarkably… presumptuous.”
In further defense of her interactions with her musicians, Hill claims, “No matter how incredible the musicians who play with me are, MY name is on the marquee. The expectation to make it all come together is on me. The risk and the financial losses are on me. Hence, MY VIBE, though not the only consideration, is the priority.” She indirectly calls out Glasper again, continuing, “Few people actually know what this road is like, but many want to judge and comment, having never done it. Try doing what I’ve done yourself. If nothing else, you will gain some insight into and respect for my process.”
Read Hill’s full statement here.