Lauryn Hill Has a Bone to Pick With Robert Glasper: ‘Who Are You to Say I Didn’t Do Enough?’

Hill. Photo: Kevin Kane/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Just prior to the 20th anniversary of Lauryn Hill’s seminal solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, musician Robert Glasper made a laundry list of accusations about how involved Hill actually was on the album. He claimed that she stole some of its songs, failed to credit the musicians she brought in to work with her on it, and also has continuously mistreated her touring bands throughout her career, including Glasper. Hill has now responded to Glasper’s complaints in a lengthy essay published on Medium, in which she clarifies her creative process and defends her work ethic. “You may be able to make suggestions, but you can’t write FOR me,” she says of her album’s collaborative nature. “I am the architect of my creative expression. No decisions are made without me.” She writes that Miseducation was her first time working with outside artists and she “may not have established the necessary boundaries and may have been more inviting than I should have been.” She continues, “I may have been inclusive, but these are my songs.”

Hill says she has “no recollection” of cutting band members’ pay in half prior to shows, as Glasper claimed, but would “never just cut a musician’s pay arbitrarily unless I had a legitimate reason.” She then says of Glasper: “I’m confused as to why such a principled musician, who thought I ‘stole’ from his friends, would show up to work for me anyway … Who are you to say I didn’t do enough? Most people are probably just hearing your name for the first time because you dropped MINE in an interview, controversially. Taking nothing away from your talent, but this is a fact.” Hill also reaffirms that, regardless of whom she works with, she’s the boss: “No matter how incredible the musicians who play with me are, MY name is on the marquee. The expectation to make it all come together is on me. The risk and the financial losses are on me. Hence, MY VIBE, though not the only consideration, is the priority.”

She goes on to also defend her chronic lateness to concerts, saying it’s because she “cares too much” about her fans and putting on a good show, which leads to sound checks running overtime and shows getting pushed back. (Several dates on her current anniversary tour were recently canceled or postponed.) She writes, “This element of perfectionism is about wanting the audience to experience the very best and most authentic musical experience they can from what I do.”

Lauryn Hill Has Some Words for Robert Glasper