It seems like Lauryn Hill has been in the news, lately, for all the wrong reasons. In the midst of all that, we wanted to take a second to highlight not only Lauryn’s place among our all time favorite musicians, but the unique kinship she shares with Reservoir.
Few contemporary artists, within and beyond R&B, have shown the kind of reverence for, and commitment to their musical ancestries as Lauryn Hill. Here at Reservoir – a champion of soul and R&B across the decades, from Philly Groove to Blackground to Beyoncé and beyond – we really dig it.
For her part, Hill has shown a particular affinity for a couple of our Philly Groove favorites – quoting the Delfonics’ “Walk Right Up To The Sun” in Nas’ “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)”, and centering the Fugees’ classic “Ready or Not” entirely around the Delfonics tune of (almost) the same title. She has also tipped her hat to artists like the Four Seasons, Ben E. King, Stevie Wonder, Kool & The Gang, and The Police, among countless others throughout her extraordinarily accomplished career.
In each instance, permeating the final product more than anything else are the respect and admiration Hill clearly projects towards the musicians that allowed her to become herself. What distinguishes her further, though, is her ability to garnish each influence judiciously. She never seems to borrow ideas for the sake of borrowing, but for the sake of building.
Nowhere, perhaps, is this more apparent than in the video for her late ’90s smash “Doo Wop (That Thing),” where old and new school literally intersect, with Lauryn herself tying it all together. The project, while sonically a throwback, also felt fresh, and the majority of her records tend to roll like that.
It’s been almost fifteen years since Lauryn and “Doo Wop” made the old new again. Still, as a company that, in many ways, prides itself on the intersection of past, present and future, we can’t help but hold our breaths for another chance to hear her re-imagine more of the past’s best offerings.