Singer-Songwriter Lauryn Hill has responded to claims that she stole music and selfishly cut her band’s pay.
In an interview with Houston-based radio station 97.9 The Box earlier this month, pianist Robert Glasper called out Hill for her treatment of musicians, alleging that she tried to cut her band’s pay in half the day before a concert, sought to replace world-class musicians mid-tour, and that she overstates the role she played in her iconic 1998 album ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’.
In the interview, Glasper explained how he believes Hill tried to rip him off:
My boy was like ‘Yo, Lauryn has a show in New York. Do you want to play? … We’re rehearsing for one week, for a twenty-minute show’
We rehearse a whole week, like ten hours a day. Every day she comes in and changes the show, changes what she wants to do, completely.
The last rehearsal, she doesn’t show up. Her manager shows up and says ‘Lauryn’s not really feeling the way you guys have been learning the music, so we’re going to cut your pay in half.’ The last rehearsal, the day before the show.
First of all, we weren’t getting paid that much anyway. But understand she was getting paid half a million dollars. So seriously? You’re going to take these five musicians and cut their pay in half?
I’ve met Stevie Wonder, and hung out with Stevie. I’ve met Quincy Jones, hung out with Quincy Jones. I’ve met Herbie Hancock, hung out with Herbie Hancock. If those three people can be cool, Lauryn Hill should be able to be cool. You haven’t done enough to be the way you are. You just have not. The one thing you’ve done that was great, you didn’t do.
Watch the full interview below:
Now, in a lengthy essay posted to Medium, Hill has addressed Glasper’s accusations head-on. In the essay, Hill blasts Glasper, asking: “Who are you to say I didn’t do enough? Most people are probably just hearing your name for the first time because you dropped MINE in an interview, controversially. Taking nothing away from your talent, but this is a fact.”
She also went on to express confusion about, “…why such a principled musician, who thought I ‘stole’ from his friends, would show up to work for me anyway.”
While Hill admits that she could not recall the specific incident of cutting musicians pay that Glasper referred to in the interview, she explained: “If fees had been negotiated and confirmed without my knowledge, I may have asked for them to be adjusted. But I would never just cut a musician’s pay arbitrarily unless I had a legitimate reason. There are artists who do cut pay though, James Brown was notorious for docking musicians if they did something he didn’t like, I’m sure there are others.”
Defending her creative process, Hill went on to say: “No matter how incredible the musicians who play with me are, MY name is on the marquee. The expectation to make it all come together is on me. The risk and the financial losses are on me. Hence, MY VIBE, though not the only consideration, is the priority. Few people actually know what this road is like, but many want to judge and comment, having never done it. Try doing what I’ve done yourself. If nothing else, you will gain some insight into and respect for my process.”
Later in the essay, she addressed rumors surrounding the reason why she has been late to, or cancelled, so many of her recent concerts. Last month, four dates on her North American tour were cancelled due to ‘unforeseen production issues.’
“Me being late to shows isn’t because I don’t respect my fans or their time, but the contrary,” she explained. “It can be argued that I care too much, and insist on things being right.”
Read Hill’s full post here.