Friday, April 9, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 127

Concert Review: 'N Sync, Ali


About the Cougar

Miseducation 101
Lauryn Hill does ‘that thingi in pleasing diverse Aerial crowd

By Jason Caesar Consolacion
Entertainment Co-Editor

There is no question that Lauryn Hill is in a league of her own.

She is one of the only artists capable of combining R&B and hip-hop without sounding like one genre trying too hard to sound like the other. Hill has brought her style to a level few female artists can reach, thanks to "that thing," a formula that seems to work for this 23-year-old.

Lauryn Hill brought her brand of hip-hop to a sold-out Aerial Theatre audience Wednesday.

William Cordray/The Daily Cougar

Finally arriving in Houston Wednesday (Hill was originally scheduled to play in Houston March 11 but canceled due to illness), the five-time Grammy winner showed the Aerial Theatre audience why it was worth the wait.

Starting her set by playing a recording of Bob Marley's "Redemption Songs," Hill segued to the gospel classic "His Eye is on the Sparrow" while singing offstage. She then proceeded to walk on stage with her band singing her heartfelt ballad, "Ex-Factor."

From the first note Hill sang, the audience cheered every line, ad-lib and phrase that the diva would sing or rap. With the wide mix of races and ages in the crowd, it is evident that Hill has reached a truly universal audience.

"L-Boogie," Hill's nickname, later sang a medley of hits by her former group, the Fugees. The medley consisted of the group's hits, "Fu-gee-la," "If I Ruled the World" and "Ready or Not." It is rumored that Hill and the former group members Wyclef Jean and Praz are planning to reunite for another album, but nothing definite has been announced.

Other hits performed from her critically acclaimed solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, included "Lost Ones," "When It Hurts So Bad," "Superstar," "Every Ghetto, Every City," a snippet of "I Used to Love Him" and the inspiring jam "To Zion."

The set also featured a memorable rendition of the soulful track "The Sweetest Thing" and a DJs vs. band duel that brought out Hill's versions of the theme from The Jeffersons, "Movin' On Up," The Jackson Five's "I Want You Back" and Jay-Z's "Hard Knock Life."

Finally, Hill culminated the set with the radio-hit "Doo Wop (That Thing)," bringing the house down in the process. Chants of "We want more!" and "Lauryn! Lauryn!" echoed throughout the theater, and "L-Boogie" did not disappoint.

Her first encore number was the Fugee's remake of Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly." It may not have been the same without Wyclef Jean in the background, but the track was still jammin', keeping the audience singing and bouncing.

Before taking her final bow, Hill sang, "Everything is Everything" as members of the opening act, Outkast, joined the diva on stage for a raucous finale.

The band was on cue for most of the evening, especially drummer Jared Crawford who pretty much tore it up the whole show. DJ Leon Higgins and DJ Supreme also put on impeccable performances, as did Hill's three background singers Lenesha Randolph, Tara Watkins and Candice Anderson.

A few Aerial Theatre difficulties caused the lights to blow-out on a couple of occasions, but Hill overcame the technical error, blaming it on the overabundance of energy the crowd was emitting.

In all, Hill's two-hour miseducation was remarkable. Barely in her mid-20s, Hill is already one of music's biggest stars and shows no signs of letting up.

This was the final show of Hill's first solo tour, and she went out with a bang, proving that her music and style are only about "that thing."

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