Ed. Note: According to our New York sister blog Sound of the City, Hill's show Monday night at legendary NYC jazz club the Blue Note went much better, although she still didn't go onstage until almost midnight.
Lauryn Hill's comeback campaign is off to a rocky start. Hill recently embarked on a nationwide tour to pave the way for her first studio album in 10 years. However, it appears that she may have pissed off a few along the way. Her December 28 show at Brooklyn's Music Hall of Williamsburg was scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m., and Hill didn't show up till after midnight.
When she finally graced the stage at around 12:30 a.m., scattered boos rang out from the crowd. She shrug off the boos and fired back at disgruntled fans. It's kinda hard to take offense to crowd hostility when you've been hearing boos since you were 13. The fans expected an apologetic Lauryn Hill. They got an arrogant one instead.
"Don't do that. That's disrespectful," she said. "I spent my entire twenties sacrificing my life to give you love. So when I hear people complain, I don't know what to tell you."
Hey, we have an idea and we're just grasping at straws here. Maybe, just maybe, you could tell them that you're sorry for being late. Instead, Hill poured on the insults:
"I personally know I'm worth the wait."
This is probably true.
"All those who are unhappy, you're always free to go back and ask for a refund."
OK. Them's is fighting words right there.
What Lauryn Hill did was all kinds of messed up, and her half-assed apology didn't help. But people need to stop acting like it's the end of the world. No one knows exactly why she was late to that show. Keep in mind that she has like 50 kids.
In a 2010 NPR interview, Hill attributed her self-imposed sabbatical to a busy family life. "I don't know if you know this, but I have five children." Hill told NPR's Zoe Chace. "The youngest is 2 now, so she's old enough that I can leave her for a period of time and know she's going to be OK."
Kids aside, she may have also slept through her alarm clock. Who hasn't done that? That's why we're saving up for this Flavor Flav alarm clock. We dare anyone to sleep through an endless loop of Flavor Flav's voice yelling "Bass in your face!"
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Who goes to a hip-hop show and expects the main act to show up on time anyway? That's like going to a Houston Texans game and expecting them to win. You have only yourself to blame for unrealistic expectations in both cases. Those Lauryn Hill fans seemed terribly hurt, holding up signs like "This Is So Disgusting" and "You Just Lost One."
Surprisingly, no one left the venue, even after she gave them the finger. They were basically saying that she's worth the wait. If they wanted to send her a message, they would've walked out. Seriously, nothing says "You Just Lost One" like an empty venue.
In other '90s rapper comebacks, Houston Press sister paper Phoenix New Times has a lengthy tale of DMX's difficulties staying on the straight and narrow, as detailed on his startlingly strong (albeit still unreleased) double album Walk With Me Now and Fly With Me Later. See Niki D'Andrea's article here.