Lauryn Hill was born in South Orange, New Jersey on May 26, 1975. She was the second of two children of Valerie Hill, a high school English teacher and Mal Hill, a computer programmer. Lauryn Hill graduated from Columbia High School (New Jersey). As a child, music was a central part of her home and family life where she listened to her parents' Motown and 1960s soul records. Her father sang professionally and her mother played the piano. Lauryn's older brother, Melaney, played the saxophone, guitar and drums.
Lauryn Hill performs her version of Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You” at Amateur Night contestant on It’s Showtime at the Apollo.
Hill secures an acting role as Kyra as Johnson in the daytime soap opera, "As the World Turns."
Hill acts in the play “Club XII” with rapper MC Lyte.
Lauryn Hill, Prajkazrel “Pras” Michel and Pras’ cousin Wyclef Jean form The Fugees. Hill starts rapping for the first time .She is also the lead vocalist of the group.
Hill enrolls in Columbia University, where she majors in history and studies classical music. The same year, Hill plays Rita Watson in Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit and The Fugees release their debut album, Blunted on Reality.
The Fugees release their second album, The Score, which sells 17 million copies and wins Best Rap Album and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group at The Grammy Awards. The album features a popular cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” that put Hill’s vocals on the map.
The Fugees split.
Lauryn Hill starts her solo career with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album is named after Carter G Woodson’s book, The Miseducation of the Negro and The Education of Sonny Carson, a movie about a child raised in Brooklyn who must leave his violent past behind and change his life. She recorded the record from late 1997 through June 1998 at Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica. The album featured contributions from D'Angelo, Carlos Santana, Mary J. Blige and the then-unknown John Legend. For Hill, the idea of “miseducation” relates to any knowledge gained outside of the classroom, and songs cover topics from spirituality to love and heartbreak. The album also includes narration from poet, politician, and activist Ras Baraka. The interludes were recorded in Hill’s living room and consist of unscripted conversations about love between a teacher, Baraka, and a group of children acting as his students. Miseducation sells 12 million copies and wins Hill numerous music awards. The album includes successful singles, like “Everything is Everything,” “Doo-Wop (That Thing),” and “Ex-Factor.”
In February, Lauryn Hill is featured on the cover of Time Magazine. The issue celebrated the 20th anniversary of hip-hop.
Lauryn Hill receives an Essence Award for work, which has included the 1996 founding of the Refugee Project, an outreach organization that supports a two-week overnight camp for at-risk youth, and for supporting well-building projects in Kenya and Uganda, as well as for staging a rap concert in Harlem to promote voter registration.
In 1999's Grammy Awards, Hill was nominated eleven times and won Album of the Year (beating Madonna's critically acclaimed album Ray of Light), Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, Best R&B Album, setting a new record for a female performer. Hill wins five Grammys, including Album Of The Year (the first any hip-hop artist has won the category), Best New Artist, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, Best Rhythm & Blues Song and Best R&B Album. In the same year, Hill writes and produces, “All That I Can Say,” the first single on Mary J. Blige’s album Mary. She also lends a verse on “Do You Like the Way,” which appears on Santana’s album Supernatural.
Hill gives a speech to high school students, explaining to them the importance of being and loving oneself. She explains the importance of God and the source of her tenacity and confidence, and her dedication to making music for a purpose greater than herself.
Hill performs on MTV Unplugged and debuts new music during the two-hour live performance. This performance results in her live album, MTV Unplugged 2.0.
In February, at a performance in Vatican City, Hill speaks publically about the corruption of the Catholic Church, referring to the molestation of boys by Catholic priests.
Fugees Greatest Hits album is released.
Kanye West, in his debut album, The College Dropout uses an interpolation of Hill’s “The Mystery of Iniquity” in his hit song “All Falls Down.”
The Fugees perform for the first time since 1997 at Dave Chappelle’s Block Party in Brooklyn, during which Hill sings a nearly acapella version of “Killing Me Softly.”
Hill collaborates with John Legend on “So High,” a single from his album Get Lifted.
The Fugees open the BET Awards with a 12-minute set.
Late in the year, the Fugees embark on a European tour.
Ms. Hill, an album featuring cuts from Miseducation and other unreleased songs, is released. The album includes features from D'Angelo, Rah Digga and John Forté.
Hill releases a new song for the film Surf’s Up, entitled “Lose Myself."
Hill goes on a European tour. During her second show, she passes out, and cancels the remainder of the tour.
In April, Hill releases Khulami Phase, an unofficial compilation album.
Hill appears at the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, California. This is her first American performance in several years.
In August 2010, Hill joins the Rock the Bells hiphop festival and performs Miseducation in its entirety.
Lauryn Hill discusses her music-making process and her hiatus from the industry during an interview with NPR.
In July, an unreleased song called “Repercussions” is leaked on the internet, debuting at 94 on the Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, peaking at number 83 the next week.
In the spring, Hill performs at Coachella Valley Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz Fest, and at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
In February 2012, Hill performs a new song called “Fearless Vampire Killer” to a sold-out crown in Washington D.C.
In late 2012, Hill tours with Nas.
In May, Hill releases her first official single in over a decade, entitled "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)."
On May 6th, Hill is sentenced for tax evasion. On July 8th, Hill begins serving her sentence at Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. While incarcerated, she puts out a single called “Consumerism.”
Hill releases “Black Rage,” a song dedicated to the unrest in Ferguson after the murder of black teenager, Michael Brown.
Hill is heard as the narrator for Concerning Violence: Nine Scenes from Anti-Imperialistic Self-Defense, an award-winning Swedish documentary on the African liberation struggles of the 1960s and 70s.
Hill’s voice is featured on the documentary about the life of Nina Simone, entitled What Happened, Miss Simone? She also served as a producer alongside Robert Glasper. Lauryn Hill covers six Nina Simone songs, including “Feeling Good,” “I’ve Got Life,” and “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” for “Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone.”
In August of the same year, Lauryn Hill headlines annual Afropunk concert in Brooklyn, NY, and Miseducation is added to the Library of Congress collection.
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is added to the Library of Congress collection of recordings. Among requirements for inclusion in the archive are that the recordings be “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” and be at least 10 years old. The Library of Congress writes: Lauryn Hill’s debut solo record, following the breakup of the Fugees, is a work of honesty in which Hill explores her feelings on topics that included the deep wonder of pregnancy, the pitfalls of modern relationships and the experience of the sacred. The album effortlessly fuses soul, rhythm and blues, rap and reggae. Hill’s vocal range, smooth clear highs and vibrato are stunning. The rapping is rhythmically compelling while always retaining, and frequently exploiting, the natural cadences of conversational speech.