23 years after its release, the album has surpassed 10,000,000 units sold, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced via Twitter on Tuesday night. Hill becomes one of fewer than 100 artist to hit the sales milestone, a feat harder than ever to accomplish in the days of digital streaming. As of 2016, the RIAA counts a sale as either a physical purchase, 10 tracks from a single album downloaded, or 1,500 streams of tracks from an album.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill joins landmark releases such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Adele’s 21, 2Pac’s All Eyez on Me, The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain, Green Day’s Dookie, and Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill in the Diamond Club. Oh, and the Saturday Night Fever and Titanic soundtracks are in there, too.
Released in 1998, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart with a now-unheard-of 422,000 sales in its first week. It was nominated for 10 Grammys, with Hill winning in five of those categories — both numbers being single-year records for a female performer. Hill took home trophies for Best New Artist, Best R&B Album, Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Doo Wop (That Thing)”, and Album of the Year, making it the first hip-hop release to be awarded the top prize.
Amazingly, Hill never released a follow-up to the record. As she explained in an interview for Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums podcast,
“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, EVER…EVER. Did I say ever? Ever! With The Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment, and express. After The Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs EVERYWHERE. People had included me in their own narratives of their successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
The freshly minted diamond status isn’t Hill’s only new RIAA achievement, either. Her equally lauded sophomore album with Fugees, The Score, also reached 7x multi-platinum status as of February 16th, while the singles “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (3x), “Fu-Gee-La” (1x), and “Ready or Not” (1x) each hit individual milestones.
It just so happens The Score is the focus of the next season of Consequence Podcast Network’s The Opus. Ahead of the season’s debut later this month, you can win The Score on vinyl plus a Bluetooth turntable and wireless headphones from Sony by entering here.
— RIAA (@RIAA) February 17, 2021