Lauryn Hill cemented her place in music history on August 25, 1998, when she released her first and only solo studio record, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the singer, rapper and songwriter’s crowning achievement via these notable numbers.
1997 The year Hill began recording the album, soon after the first time The Fugees—the acclaimed trio she formed with Pras Michel and Wyclef Jean—broke up. Some of the album’s songs, including the ballad “Ex-Factor,” addressed her tumultuous romantic relationship with Jean.
2 The number of countries—the United States and Jamaica—where Hill recorded “The Miseducation.” Sessions in the latter country primarily took place at Tuff Gong Studio, the Kingston facility operated by the family of Rohan Marley, her then-partner (and son of reggae icon Bob Marley).
79 The number of guest musicians, engineers, producers and artists credited with working on “The Miseducation.” That figure includes three featured musicians: Carlos Santana (“To Zion”), Mary J. Blige (“I Used to Love Him”) and D’Angelo (“Nothing Even Matters”). Several of those musicians later sued Hill for not being properly credited on the album. The first of the lawsuits, from the New Ark collective of fellow northern New Jersey musicians, was settled out of court in 2001.
4 The number of weeks “The Miseducation” spent atop the Billboard 200 chart.
5 The total number of Grammys Hill earned at the 41st Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year—the first time that a hip hop record ever won that honor. She was nominated in 10 categories.
16 The number of Black people featured on Time magazine covers during the ’90s before Hill graced the front of the February 8, 1999 issue. As Joan Morgan notes in her book about the singer, “She Begat This,” this was one of many magazine covers that featured Hill, from Jet to Harper’s Bazaar, and turned her into a global icon.
8 million The number of copies of “The Miseducation” that the Recording Industry Association of America says Hill sold in the U.S. as of 2001. In 2013, Hill published a blog post that placed her total global album sales—including for her other full-length album, the acoustic “MTV Unplugged No. 2.0”—at more than 50 million units.