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Lauryn Hill released from jail, releases new Consumerism song

Jordannah Elizabeth | 10/17/2013, 2:02 p.m.
The Bureau of Prisons released R&B entertainer and ex-Fugees member Lauryn Hill from prison early due to good behavior and ...
Lauryn Hill

The Bureau of Prisons released R&B entertainer and ex-Fugees member Lauryn Hill from prison early due to good behavior and other factors.

The star was sentenced to three months in jail, three months of house arrest and nine months of supervised release after pleading guilty to tax evasion. The singer failed to file taxes for 2005, 2006 and 2007, and she earned $1.8 million in profit during those years. Hill could have served 24-36 months after failing to pay her restitutions on time, but she was given a shorter sentence after her lawyers argued that she was caring for her six children, all of whom are minors.

The same day Hill left prison, she released a new song entitled “Consumerism.” The track, a confrontational song recorded before she went to jail, was mixed and completed while she was in prison. The track was passed back and forth between her and her producers while she was incarcerated.

In a statement posted on her Tumblr (mslaurynhill.tumblr.com), Hill explains the subject matter of “Consumerism”: “Consumerism is part of some material I was trying to finish before I had to come in. We did our best to eek out a mix via verbal and emailed direction, thanks to the crew of surrogate ears on the other side. ‘Letters From Exile’ is material written from a certain space, in a certain place. I felt the need to discuss the underlying socio–political, cultural paradigm as I saw it.

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Lauryn Hill "Consumerism"

“I haven’t been able to watch the news too much recently, so I’m not hip on everything going on. But inspiration of this sort is a kind of news in and of itself and oftentimes contains an urgency that precedes what happens. I couldn’t imag ine it not being relevant. Messages like these I imagine find their audience, or their audience finds them, like water seeking its level.” 

“Consumerism” is the embodiment of Hill’s anger and frustration with American culture, the government and the music industry. For many years, she has tried to create distance between herself and the music industry, only to be pulled back in with million-dollar offers during her self-inflicted exile. She recently signed a deal with Sony Worldwide Entertainment and spoke openly about her deal shortly after her tax evasion charges were made public.

“I’ve remained silent after an extensive healing process,” Hill said. “This has been a 10-plus-year battle for a long time, played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce … free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.”

To listen to “Consumerism,” visit soundcloud.com/mslaurynhill/ms-lauryn-hill-consumerism-1.