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She Begat This: 20 Years of the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  72 reviews
An NPR 2018 Great Read

Celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed and influential debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill with this eye-opening and moving exploration of Lauryn Hill and her remarkable artistic legacy.

Released in 1998, Lauryn Hills first solo album is often cited by music critics as one of the most important recordings in modern history.
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Atria Books
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Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolute fire! Whose idea was it to conceive of this project with Joan as scribe? A perfect pairing. Joan Morgan and Lauryn Hill. This is Davis and Coltrane. Lennon and McCartney. Shaquille and Kobe. Right from the start this book screams greatness. Kierna Mayo sets the table with a lavishly elegant forward and Joan Morgan takes the assist and keeps the ball moving forward with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. Joan is both point guard and closer dishing out assists and receiving them from the ...more
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Lovers of hip-hop, soul, the 90s & all-around badass women.. this one is for you. Weve praised Lauryn and crucified her in the same breath. Joan breaks down Hills most prized body of work so eloquently, flaws and all . 👏👏 ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Joan Morgan is an award winning journalist and cultural critic. One of the original staff writers for Vibe, her work has also appeared in More, Ms, and Giant magazines. Over the course of her career she also served as editor for Spin and Essence. Morgan is probably best known for her 1999 work When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down which examines the strange dichotomy of feminists within the male-dominated world of hip-hop.

How is a woman supposed to handle such
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hip-hop
She Begat This was fine. I mean, it accomplished what it set out do. I just wanted it to do something different. I ride for Joan Morgan. Chickenheads changed my life as did Miseducation. "I Used to Love Him" was a huge part of my hip hop work. Naturally, when I read the Essence excerpt, I had high hopes for the book. When I acquired it, I was disappointed that it was so small. When I opened it, I was surprised to find myself in a Morgan memory and not a Hill one. Then I realized She Begat This ...more
Sidik Fofana
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
SIX WORD REVIEW: Got sad for what once was.
Traci at The Stacks
Some of this book is awesome really great insights. Amazing women of hip hop weighing in on Hill and her importance in the culture. Some of it reads as 40-50 year old black women laying claim to all good black stuff and over indulging on their responsibility for the culture. Its a mixed bag. The context stuff is great. ...more
Liz Kay
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I got the audiobook from the library, so didn't realize how short this is.
It's very short.
It's under 4 hours.
There isn't anything in this book that doesn't belong, but I would have liked more depth and breadth in all areas.
That said, I really liked it.
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tbr-2018
Thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Full review on my blog:
The soundtrack of a generation. Awesome playlist at the end of the book.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
****1/2 for content
***1/2 for structure

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was part of the soundtrack to my formative years. I remember her as a critical darling. She won all the awards. The album was a PHENOMENON.

My fond memories of the music and times in which Miseducation came out plus Bookstagram brought me to Joan Morgans She Begat This: 20 Years of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. If youre looking for a musical critique of each song from this album and/or a titillating behind-the scenes look
Will Fonseca
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Three stars is generous here, but the fact is that any book on Lauryn Hill and Miseducation sort of enters the discussion with three stars because of how interesting its subject is. Morgan spends most of the book asking friends about their memories of encountering and living with Miseducation as younger women. It's perhaps a credit to Morgan (and certainly to Lauryn) that most of the reviews of this book here begin with the reviewer remembering her/his own first encounter with Miseducation. Such ...more
Hannah Notess
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writers-of-color
"I would like another Miseducation, but Lauryn might not be capable of doing that. That happens to a lot of artists. It's an unfair burden. But I can leave it there because nothing in the world can unmake that one album. She gave it to us. That's her gift to the world." --Akiba Solomon

"Lauryn Hill is an artist who does what she wants to do. She chooses whether or not to share her work with the world or keep it to herself. That kind of respect for her own genius is something we all need to
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is one of my all time favorite albums. I don't know how many times over the past 21 years I've listened to it; I know all the lyrics, the roll call, the beats, the bells. I was so excited to read this book. But it wasn't written for me.

Joan Morgan is black feminist writer who coined the term "hip-hop feminism". To write music criticism as a woman is amazing, to write as a black woman is even more rare. She breaks down the legacy of Miseducation for black women and
Chad Josimar
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-real
A book about one of the most influential ALBUMS on it's 20th year anniversary? Yes sign me up! This album has a very special place in my heart as a Jamaican, and as a man who loves music. When this album dropped I was a barley old enough to walk myself to school, but I remember hearing my mom sing every single word, track one to track fifteen, every Saturday, whilst doing our cleaning. Joan Morgan, provides us with a deep dive into the cultural impact of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, while ...more
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, netgalley
I graduated high school in 1999 and Lauryn Hill was hella 'mazing back in the day. Joan Morgan really gets into the WHYs of Lauryn Hill being such an important figure in the hip-hop world. Some of this went over my head (Hi, I'm caucasian) but as a casual follower of 90s R&B, I can't begin to describe how well written and intellectual this book describes that window in time. She put a microscope on black american feminist subculture during the late 90s. Like I honestly wasnt ready for some ...more
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was such an effortless and beautiful read. I am so grateful for Joan Morgan and for books like these - books that honor, respect, and give voice to black girls/women. This is not a autobiographical book detailing the specifics of her life, but a book that trys to give us a new perspective of Ms. Hill - her music and legacy, in a complex and nuanced way. Most importantly, this book asks us to think about who is Lauryn Hill outside of our imagination. I definitely had to go back and listen to ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
An obvious must-read for any and all lovers of Lauryn Hill and Miseducation. She Begat This is a quick, insightful investigation into Hills influence immediately pre- and post- Miseducation, and a look into how her disappearance from public life affects our understanding of her cultural significance today. Like other reviewers, I did feel the book was a little uneven and too short; that said, Morgans love for Hill is apparent, and her interviews with other black women contemporaries who came up ...more
Sarah Reicker
Jan 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A short banger of a book. Loved that it was written by smart women who love hiphop, and that it included numerous conversations about feminism, black identity and femininity. I also appreciated that the author gave a critical analysis of the Miseducation album instead of just blowing smoke up Lauryn Hill's ass. Complete with a great play list that a top female DJ put together to honor Hill's legacy, this book is an all around great read for anyone who appreciates music, fashion, and politics.
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joan Morgan !! I love you for this .
The way she dissected & studied 1998 , The way she left me marveling over certain aspects of this album being REVOLUTIONARY 🔥🔥🔥. The timing for this was perfect. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating deep-dive into Lauryn Hills seminal album, hip hop culture and the way America treats celebrity but more specifically, black women. ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Really enjoyed this one. It was a recommendation from Book Riot.
A comprehensive look at Lauryn Hills impact on music, culture, and fashion since her solo album came out in the 90s. ...more
Book Reviews By Tara
I have mixed feelings about this book. I was really excited when I learned Joan Morgan would be releasing a book for the 20th anniversary of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I had very high hopes for the book.

However, at only 151 pages, it took me over a month too complete. It didnt resonate with me. Therefore, I keep stopping and starting again. It felt similar to listening to a CD that only has 3 out of 12 good tracks. I wanted to press next and go straight to the good parts.

I cannot
And when it comes to best emcee barometers, that holy trinity of lyrics, delivery, and flowL-Boogie circa 19962002 was one of the best emcees of all time. Pause and note: I did not say one of the best female emcees. And I did not stutter. One of the best to ever do it and during the era routinely referred to as hip-hops golden age. The bar was set mad high. To put her arrival in context, when The Score, the Fugees critically acclaimed sophomore album, dropped in 1996, it joined a cohort of ...more
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
She Begat This reads as part love letter, part in-depth analysis of Lauryn Hill's 1998 solo debut. As someone who deeply loves and remembers the release of that album, reading through this book was both nostalgic (especially with references made to musical artists, groups, and songs that were concurrently popular at the time) and intriguing, in the ways in which the text examined the fortuitousness of the album's release through the lens of musical and even political events.

Morgan dialogs with
Jozef Syndicate
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
She begat this. Oh, really?

Do we really need to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the 1990 debut album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill? Apparently, we do. Not because of the album is acclaimed, having hit number one on the Billboard 200 immediately upon release and having week one sales topping 420,000 and breaking the record for female artists of all genres. not because within one year, Hills Miseducation had gone platinum eight times, securing ten Grammy nomination and five wins. Not
Stephany Snell
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Miseducation dropped, I was the only brown girl at my private middle school. My school friends were obsessed with bands like Green Day and Garbage and my parents (bio mom & newly adopted dad) had reached the age where they were primarily listening to r&b and were soaking in a renewed faith that moved us from holiday service attendees to bonafide church folk. I had just made what felt like a very grown up decision at the time to cut contact with my biological father because I couldnt ...more
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaitlynn Cassady
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I bought this book well over a year ago at Commonplace Books in OKC. Lauryn Hill was all the buzz because she was slated to perform, in Chicago, to celebrate 20 years of Miseducation. I didnt grow up on Miseducation, but had found it in college and was interested in diving deeper into the album and Hill herself. But then it sat on my shelf, and I just again picked it up. And finished it immediately. I read Joan Morgans Chickenheads in a college course on Gender Studies, so I knew Id enjoy her ...more
LaToya King
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am a Lauryn Hill fan, so much so that I still go to her concerts knowing I will hear reinterpretations of her music, and I may have to sit and wait; nonetheless, each of the three times I have seen Ms. Hill, I have left still in awe or her energy, her voice, and her performance. I love that her album can take me back to an era. I love that it makes me examine who I was and who I am. This book lets you do that reflection with Morgan and her friends who all have varying perceptions of who Lauryn ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Joan Morgan is an award-winning journalist and author and a provocative cultural critic. A pioneering hip-hop journalist and entertainment writer, she began her professional writing career freelancing for The Village Voice before having her work published by Vibe,

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