In a Nutshell
In a Nutshell
Lauryn Hill was one of the hugest success stories of the 1990s, and "Doo Wop (That Thing)" was the song you couldn't go anywhere without hearing for a while in 1998 and 1999. But shortly after The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
shot the former Fugees front woman’s solo career quickly into the big-time, Hill disappeared from the scene, stopped making albums, and focused on her personal life—a life that some said was falling apart.
In "Doo Wop (That Thing)," Hill gently chastises both women and men for playing mind games with each other, being dishonest, and giving up sex too easily. At only 23, she already felt strong and mature enough to urge others to walk the straight path (or at least her idea of the straight path). Astonishingly, she pulled off the moral high ground on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
with grace and humility. But by the time she was 25, Hill's own personal issues had been laid out in front of fans and foes alike, often against her will.
"She coulda been bigger than J-Lo," said a friend. Miseducation aside, what exactly happened to Lauryn Hill?
About the Song
||Musician(s)||Lauryn Hill (vocals), Jenni Fujita, Fundisha Johnson, Rasheem Pugh, Lenesha Randolph (backing vocals), Che Guevara, Vada Nobles (drum programming), DJ Supreme (mixing), Dean Frasier (saxophone), Indigo Quartet (strings), James Poyser (keys), Everol Ray (trumpet), Ronald "Nambo" Robinson (trombone)
|Album||The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill|
Explore the ways this song connects with the world and with other topics on Shmoop
In 1998, Lauryn Hill rocked the charts and swept the Grammys with a smart and socially conscious blend of hip-hop, soul and reggae. Why did she suddenly disappear?
Well, first of all, she started having kids (with Bob Marley
's son, Rohan Marley, said to be the love of her life). A busy mother with a blockbuster career, she may also have been a victim of some of the very gender issues
she was singing about. As her friends tell it, Hill quickly became frustrated with all the media attention and focus on her looks and style, the lack of support from some of her male counterparts (most importantly Wyclef Jean of her former band The Fugees—and her ex-boyfriend), and the doubts from some that she was not the genius she appeared to be. One minute it was, "she's the female Marvin Gaye
, and she can rap," and the next minute it was, "she probably doesn't even write her own songs."
We wish we could say, "She sure showed them!" What happened instead was… well, it's complicated. Read on to find out about the rise, fall, and still-anticipated comeback of 1998's brilliant hip-hop prophet.
On the Charts
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
spent 81 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 in 1998 and 1999, peaking at #1. The album also topped the charts in Canada and reached the top ten in nine other countries.
"Doo Wop (That Thing)" also peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1998. It peaked at #2 on the R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart.
In 1999, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
was listed at
#40 on Billboard's Top 100 Pop Albums of the Decade.
Lauryn Hill's debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
, was a huge critical success, receiving ten Grammy nominations and five wins
in 1998—the most a female performer had ever received at that time. The album won for Album of the Year, Best New Artist, and Best R&B Album. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" received awards for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.
In 2003, Rolling Stone
named The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
#312 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It has also been named on top albums lists by an astonishing number of other sources, including The Source, Mojo, Vibe, Blender, Spin, VH1, and Entertainment Weekly