Ms. Lauryn Hill
$65.00 – General Admission
*plus applicable service fees
Born in New Jersey to a schoolteacher mother and computer programmer/system’s analyst father, it was obvious from a young age that Ms. Hill possessed extraordinary talents, abilities and propensity for creativity.
Ms. Hill grew up in a home where the sound of music was a household staple. She very early, probably in the second or third grade, discovered a treasure chest’s worth of 45 singles that belonged to her mother and father that chronicled the lives and careers of some of the world’s most renowned and soulfully successful musicians-from the offerings of Motown, Staxx, Atlantic, Capitol and Mercury Records, and the like, who were at the time recording ‘the greats’ like Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Little Anthony and the imperials, The Dreamlovers, Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, The Last Poets, Aretha Franklin, Jackie Wilson, Doug and Jean Carne, Procol Harem, Santana, Alice Coltrane, The Delfonics, The Stylistics, and a plethora of other world changing artists who were influencing music and recreating the world. This love affair with music seemingly outside of her generational trajectory would extend in many different ways from jazz, to soul, to reggae, to rock to classical. An eclectic appreciation and voracious appetite for good music trans-genre, Ms. Hill would establish her own categories that incorporated all types of unique and incredible sounds from both the past and the contemporaneous environment of her youth—this obviously included what was then known as hip-hop and R&B as well, but Puccini didn’t escape her either. She was an interesting and powerful hybrid of musical influences (and stylistic mastery). These influences would dramatically shape her own approach to self-expression.
Ms. Hill sang and deeply appreciated music at a young age, known for being very animated, she also acted, danced and enjoyed performance art of various kinds. She spent her formative years acting in plays and being cast in television commercials, as well as the daytime drama ‘As the World Turns’, Steven Soderbergh’s ‘King of the Hill’, and ‘Sister Act II’ with Whoopi Goldberg. Ironically all of this was done while she was still a full-time student. After graduating high school with stellar grades, she attended Columbia University in New York while a member of the then up and coming musical group the Fugees. Ms. Hill was a great academician, but her unique gifts, interest and pursuits would take her in the direction of profound experience and great accomplishment not just in the classroom, but also beyond it. This of course would not negatively alter her life-long love of learning, invention and acquiring knowledge, but would enhance it. She often envisioned herself as able to very naturally make the kind of great contributions that often come from people with great minds and the passion and discipline required in order to bring great things into fruition. She would establish a reputation in the music world as the lone female member of The Fugees, whose record sales would make them the second biggest selling R&B act worldwide since Michael Jackson. She launched her solo career with the release of the commercially successful and critically acclaimed album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The recording earned a record breaking five Grammy Awards.
Ever since a 17-year-old Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones appeared on Main Source’s 1991 classic “Live at the Barbeque,” hip-hop would be irrevocably changed. Nas. Gifted poet. Confessor. Agitator. Metaphor master. Street’s disciple. Political firebrand. Tongue-twisting genius. With music in his blood courtesy of famed blues musician father Olu Dara, the self-taught trumpeter attracted crowds with his playing at age 4, wrote his first verse at age 7 and, with 1994’s Illmatic, created one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time before he could legally drink. Two decades on, Nas remains an incendiary, outspoken and brutally candid rapper on the recently released Life is Good, his tenth album and sixth to debut at the top of the Billboard 200.
Before the 13 Grammy nominations, seven platinum albums and Top 5 rankings on MTV’s 10 Greatest MCs of All Time and The Source’s Top 50 Lyricists of All Time, 17-year-old Nas would take daily trips to Manhattan hoping to secure a major label deal, only to be shot down by nearly every label. When 3rd Bass co-founder MC Serch brought his demo tape to the attention of Faith Newman, then-Director of A&R for Columbia Records, she made a deal with Serch that day, offering Nas a $17,000 advance and the lifeline to begin his career.
1996’s It Was Written built upon Illmatic’s foundation, with “Street Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World” (the latter with Lauryn Hill) becoming radio staples and vaulting Nas into mainstream success. For his two 1999 albums, I Am… and Nastradamus, the rapper balanced commercial aspirations with extended metaphors and rough street anthems, carving out multiple identities that better reflected the rapper’s expanded worldview.
In the past decade, Nas has only gotten more inflammatory and passionate, purposely titling albums to provoke weighty discussions on a global level. 2006’s Hip Hop is Dead sparked widespread debate on the veracity of the title, while Nas changed 2008’s Untitled from its original title Nigger, yet still incited intense polemics on race and politics in America.
In recent years, though, Nas has transcended mere rapper status and engaged in greater levels of philanthropy. The rapper is an avid UNICEF supporter, helping to raise funds for East African region Horn of Africa and teaming up with the family of George Harrison for the organization’s Month of Giving. The rapper also donated all proceeds of Distant Relatives, his 2010 collaboration with longtime friend Damian Marley, to help end poverty in Africa.
The artist’s recent release was 2011’s Life Is Good, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, marking the sixth #1 album that Nas has produced in his career. The collection also received four GRAMMY nominations bringing the rap icon’s GRAMMY recognition count to 13 overall.