Last month, groundbreaking rap and R&B singer Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty to tax evasion, after not paying taxes on $1.6 million in income between 2005 and 2007. Hill posted a rambling defense on Tumblr, explaining she went underground because she was being "manipulated and controlled by a media protected military industrial complex with a completely different agenda." Now, a sad profile examines what went wrong for her.
In The Daily Beast, Allison Samuels suggests a combination of bad relationships (romantic ones with Wyclef Jean and then Rohan Marley and a spiritual one with "Brother Anthony") and pressure to meet the expectations that her seminal album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, have taken a toll. A former employee said, "She went from one unhealthy relationship to another very quickly. But that’s what happens when you really want and really need to be loved and in love. That’s how Lauryn was." Hill, who lives in NJ, had five children—between 1997 and 2008—with Marley and then another one in 2011: "No one knows when exactly the longtime couple split, but Marley is currently engaged to Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana. He has denied being the father of Hill’s sixth child, born last year. Neither event has been helpful to Hill’s state of mind, say friends."
Also, there was a lawsuit from producers who claimed they co-wrote and co-produced some of the songs on the album, which was eventually settled out of court for $5 million. Her friend said, "It’s unfortunate because it wasn’t Lauryn’s idea to say she’d done it all. It was the record company that was big on saying she’d done all the writing, producing, and everything else. They wanted her to have title to somehow make her bigger than she was. They do that with a lot of artists, but it backfired that time, and Lauryn got caught in the middle. She was very angry about it and stayed angry for a while."
However, her attorney remains upbeat. Nathan Hockman told The Daily Beast, "By admitting her guilt, accepting full responsibility for her actions, and paying the IRS, we hope that Ms. Hill will receive a fair and balanced sentence of probation." Also: "He added that the singer is fully capable of continuing a lucrative musical career that won’t be affected by recent events." Here she is at a recent Summer Jam with Nas and then "Doo-Wop (That Thing)" from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill: