Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz, Beyonce and more surprised fans over the weekend by joining singer Lauryn Hill for her Rock the Bells New York City concert.
Details on Hill’s stage companions last Saturday hit the Internet yesterday (August 29).
Opening her set with Fugees classic “Fu-Gee-La,” Ms. Hill brought an A-list batch of friends to the stage including Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, the oh-so-pregnant Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz, Chris Rock, John Legend and Fugees’ producer Jerry Wonder. L. Boogs was even joined by her kids for a touching rendition of “To Zion,” dedicated to her first-born. (Rap-Up)
Following her set, Hill reflected on making a music comeback after a decade-long hiatus.
“It was love back. Love back. Love back,” Hill said later in her trailer about the parade of stars. Outside, Busta Rhymes — who was a guest performer of A Tribe Called Quest — came and said hello to her kids. “Reciprocity. It was wonderful to see everybody. I was so touched. I wanted everybody else to share in that moment. I wanted everybody else to see them.” Hill said Rock the Bells was the perfect place for her to express some of her feelings, and she used the opportunity to drop some new rhymes and new variations on her classics. She also got a chance to reconnect to the fans. “I miss you. I miss you,” she repeated at the end of her set. (MTV)
After her New York set, Hill performed last night in Washington, DC.
To her credit, Hill came out ripping, which she does extremely well. (Hill is considered one of the greatest female emcees of all time. And for good reason. Her delivery, speed, and lyrics have always struck a chord with fans.) Her singing — on the other hand– wasn’t striking anything. Her voice was noticeably horse. Her band drowned her out in a number of spots during her brief stage time. Her background singers didn’t do anything noteworthy. The arrangement of her music made many of her songs unrecognizable, and there were feedback issues to boot. A surprise guest appearance by rapper Nas for the hit “If I Ruled The World” couldn’t save Hill’s short set. Overall, it was a huge let down for her fans — many of whom paid more than $100 a ticket in this economy to see her. (Baltimore Sun)
Last June, Hill explained taking an 11-year break from the music industry.
“There were a number of different reasons (why I left),” she says in the interview. “But partly, the support system that I needed was not necessarily in place. There were things about myself, personal-growth things, that I had to go through in order to feel like it was worth it. In fact, as musicians and artists, it’s important we have an environment — and I guess when I say environment, I really mean the (music) industry, that really nurtures these gifts.” (USA Today)
Check out footage from Lauryn Hill’s set down below: