Lauryn Hill - MTV Unplugged 2.0

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Lauryn Hill has loudly (and justifiably) been declared a brilliant artist already in her young career, and MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 will do nothing to dissuade anyone. This double record set contains snippets from her landmark debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, but most of it is new material that Hill performs with raw, shockingly honest intensity.

Coming on the heels of a well-publicized period of depression and unhappiness for the ex-Fugees singer, Hill's reenergized outlook is plainly evident in this stripped-down performance. This album is basically just Hill and her unplugged guitar, enhanced by highly spiritual nature of the material. Cutting across musical styles from bossa nova ("Just Like Water") to Marley-esque rebel songs ("Oh Jerusalem", "The Conquering Lion", "Freedom Time"), Lauryn's voice is throaty and rough throughout, giving the performance an earthy, heartfelt pull.

It's a deeply personal performance, filled with blistering social commentary and the evils of self-delusion while detailing her ongoing attempt to escape from the public persona her fame has created. In destroying her old artistry, she discovers a new creative force, yielding a mesmerizing and enchanting classic.

Heavyweight double vinyl produced by We Are Vinyl for Columbia Records in 2018. Includes download card.

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