Copyright 1999-2002 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

Bams' review of
Lauryn Hill Unplugged No. 2.0


Lauryn Hill Unplugged No. 2.0 (DVD music review)
Running time: 105 minutes
Artist: Lauryn Hill
Genre: "Hip-Hop Folk"
Label: Columbia Records
Artist Site:

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002

(click here to skip to this concert's rating)

Whenever I read the title of this DVD - Lauryn Hill Unplugged No. 2.0 - I am reminded of computer version upgrades. And as with many upgrades, this version just seems to work better, now that it's gotten most of the bugs out.

The Lauryn Hill that took that MTV Unplugged stage in July 2001 was radically different from the Lauryn Hill who tore up the charts as part of the Fugees hip-hop group, and different still from the solo artist who tore up the charts with The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. The Unplugged Lauryn Hill seemed battle-scarred, wary of an alluded-to former life of emptiness. But this Lauryn Hill didn't seem dissuaded from all that; indeed, she seemed ready to tell the world how she "made it over". Was the world - especially the MTV, "keep the hits comin' or you're outta here!" world, and the stage that she took?

For me, the answer was a resounding "yes". But alas, I am not the only critic in the world. I have seen some scathing articles written about Hill's new direction. From "she's under the spell of a svengali!" to "who told her she can play a guitar?" to "what an ego trip, tsk tsk", many critics have shown no love for Lauryn Hill 2.0, and clamor for the return of the old Hill.

Though I understand why those critics have said what they have said, I think they've all missed The Point. By quite a wide margin.

So, what's The Point of Hill 2.0, then? In my eyes, she is saying she has been Reborn, and likes it, thankyewverramuch. You can take that in the classic born-again Christian sense, or new-age mumbo jumbo sense - or you can just take her at her word, that she is no longer the manufactured Lauryn Hill that MTV hath wrought. And that whatever Major Drama she went through (of which I am blissfully unaware, since I don't Do gossip), the result is that she feels she's a better artist - emphasis on art - for it. More power to her, I say.

Still, let's be fo' real doe for a minute. The Lauryn Hill that played guitar on this release, won't be putting any guitarists out of business. I think she acknowledged that a few times. And with only her guitar and her voice to carry her through this DVD, one might think she was at a disadvantage from start to finish. One would be wrong, if one so seriously discounted that voice - and her spirit.

Not that I was There from the beginning. Like many people (especially those of us who hadn't heard about Hill's Major Issues before seeing the video last July), I wasn't quite down with her new program at first. I wasn't much of a follower of hers to begin with, though I've certainly enjoyed her singing in the past. Granted, it took me at least two sittings to really Feel Hill, The Revision; I couldn't get past the first two songs the first two times I tried to watch my tape. (And I found it quite ironic to hear her pour out her heart about Becoming Real Again, when in the windows behind her, were big iconic examples of what's most unreal about New York City).

But starting with track four - "Oh Jerusalem" - and on through "Rebel", "Water", and especially "Peace Of Mind", I was right there with her, all the way. It's like Hill said, early on: it's important that you really listen to the lyrics. Don't just groove on her beautiful vocals. And likewise, don't get caught up in her repetitive chord playing (though "Water" was on jam, lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally). Hill could've put the guitar down anytime and set souls aflame, a cappella.

And for those who would chide her simply because she isn't the best guitar player out there, I'll just point to Bob Dylan and his brethren (and sistren, for that matter), and move on. Take that as you will.

I find it hard to believe that I watched the same performance as those naysayers - because, warts 'n all, I came away from seeing Hill 2.0, moved to the core. Ok, ok..when I wasn't chuckling about her newfound guitar skillz.

I really hope Lauryn Hill doesn't listen to the naysayers who've questioned her new direction. It's refreshing to see someone who had the world on a platter, follow her heart - even if the path she's chosen takes her away from the fame and fortune so many seek. Go'ne girl, do that thang.


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2002
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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