The latest headlines to hit the airwaves and print about former Fugees front woman, Lauryn Hill, are her recent tax evasion woes. Once a Grammy award-winning musician selling more than 19 million copies of her solo album, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,’ the artist seems to have fallen on hard times over the past couple of years, and is now facing repercussions for not paying back taxes. It also seems that her current financial state has forced her to return to the industry that caused her such conflict in the past, which she referred to in a very telling MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 live recording, where she performed a song called ‘I Get Out.’
According to Hill’s Tumblr account, she states: “It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released.
In regards to the entertainment industry, she also added, “I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ 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.”
Despite immense success in the music world, it is no secret that Hill grew increasing dissatisfied with the music industry in the past, and she started to feel as if she was being unfairly controlled by her record label. In an attempt to regain her identity, she dropped out of the public eye around 2000, and explored religious counsel, before making brief appearances here and there.
At one point during a concert, she said: “Fantasy is what people want, but reality is what they need.” She went on to say that she had retired from the fantasy part.
While many listeners naively interpret the lyrics of ‘I Get Out’ as dealing with a relationship with a man, much of the revealing language points in a different direction. It’s almost like an open letter about the music industry, and cautionary message to the public. It was also released more than 10 years ago, and from the looks of her Tumblr account, Hill’s feelings on the subject have still not changed.
Below you will see how Hill makes repeated references to ‘breaking free’ and ‘mind control’ in the song:
First, we will take a look at the chorus of the song, which states: “I get out, I get out of all your boxes/ I get out, you can’t hold me in these chains/I’ll get out/Father free me from this bondage/ Knowin’ my condition/ Is the reason I must change.”
The chorus clearly speaks of breaking free from the things that make her feel institutionalized or oppressed, such as the music industry. She seems to be asking for religious guidance, as she recognizes that she needs help to make significant changes in her life.
Your stinkin’ resolution | Is no type of solution | Preventin’ me from freedom | Maintainin’ your pollution | I won’t support your lie no more | I won’t even try no more | If I have to die, oh Lord | That’s how I choose to live | I won’t be compromised no more | I can’t be victimized no more | I just don’t sympathize no more | Cuz now I understand | You just wanna use me | You say “love” then abuse me.
In Verse 1, Hill makes a reference to the influence that people can have on other lives, and calls it ‘pollution.’ She no longer wants to be a part of it (even though she has benefited from it in the past). She doesn’t want to be ‘used and abused’ just to make more money for the record companies.
She then sings: “No more compromises | I see past your disguises | Blindin’ through mind control | Stealin’ my eternal soul | Appealin’ through material | To keep me as your slave |”
Hill acknowledges that she once fell for the ‘mind control’ ”“ accepting the material wealth and perks that came with her fame. Record companies keep offering bigger and better things to entice musicians to stay in line with their agenda. Hill states that she is done making compromises in her life for the industry.
In Verse 2, she says: “Psychological locks | Repressin’ true expression | Cementin’ this repression |Promotin’ mass deception | So that no one can be healed | I don’t respect your system | I won’t protect your system | When you talk I don’t listen | Oh, let my Father’s will be done”
Hill is telling listeners that the music industry uses tactics, such as psychological methods to sometimes bully or force an artist to listen to how management would like them to conduct themselves. In the end, musicians often feel repressed. The mass deception she speaks of could refer to the perceived happiness that the public believes an artist enjoys throughout this process.
In Verse 3, Hill mentions mind control once again, and makes references to the people who make up the ‘rules.’ She speaks of ‘animal conditioning’ and how the industry keeps musicians as slaves, as well as how blind submission can lead to a great deal of hurt in regards to making music. Hill also questions authority in this verse, and criticizes the system that seems to be ‘in charge.’