Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill vs. Diamond D Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop. Which Is Better?
One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as determined by hundreds of thousands of voters. Now, “Finding The GOAT” returns to ask a new question: what is the greatest of all time Hip-Hop album?
“Finding The GOAT Album” will consider 120 albums from three individual eras (40 in each), with options for wild card and write-in candidates. You and your vote will decide which album goes forward, and which one leaves the conversation. While there will no doubt be conversation between family and friends (virtual and real), only votes cast in the voting tool below will be counted, so use the power of your click.
In addition to greatness, some albums are especially iconic due to the fact that they go unfollowed. Nearly 20 years later, Lauryn Hill has never followed up her iconic solo debut. In doing so, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill remains deeply relevant, in a galaxy of its own accolades—including federal recognition. Diamond D, who worked with Hill on The Score, released his own acclaimed debut to a concentrated response of its own. To those in the know, Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop is a much more important and influential LP than many with better sales or awards. Since 1992, Diamond largely shifted focus from his rapping and solo career to help others, including The Fugees—making his first LP a time-piece. Both of these albums are deeply relevant to today’s creatives, and are targets to which artists often aspire. Which is the greater of the two works (Click on one then click “vote”).
The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill
Following The Score, The Fugees would famously disband at the highest of commercial and critical plateaus to focus on solo work. For Lauryn Hill, that would prove to be pivotal. One of Hip-Hop’s most gifted MCs and music’s truly captivating singers, Ms. Hill went to work on an album trying to balance those gifts, in a very compartmentalized era of music. Without Wyclef or Pras anywhere in sight, L-Boogie crafted a deeply-personal, especially ambitious work in The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. Seemingly impossible, the Newark, New Jersey veteran eclipsed her group work with an album that not only proved to be more than a decade ahead of its time, but a bar-raiser in late ’90s Pop music. Miseducation may have had all the trimmings of a #1 album, but Lauryn carried her Blunted On Reality roots, unafraid to stir the pot against haters within her inner circle on “Lost Ones,” or call out wack rappers on “Final Hour.”
Few albums actualize an artist’s talent as well as Miseducation. Before Drake, Queen Latifah, and Pharoahe Monch would use their singing abilities extensively on albums, Lauryn Hill gracefully kicked open the door on an LP that aimed to empower the youth, settle “the score,” and embrace love and motherhood. Largely self-produced, L-Boogie found an organic, instrumental pocket all of her own. Unafraid to weave in covers or allusions, this LP is among the most cohesive Pop albums of the last 25 years. “Every Ghetto, Every City,” was a here-and-now outcry for the singer, with a broad choral crescendo. “Everything Is Everything” took charge of the closing millennium in a brilliantly universal light. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” merged Hill’s gifts in one tangible place, calling back to ’60s girl-group Motown without gimmicks, but a mere stylistic display. In an era of over-sexed R&B and gender-clashing Hip-Hop, Lauryn Hill brought the sexes together with beautiful, gestalt music using her rhymes and vocal range at once. Not simply in Hip-Hop, The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill is the album everybody wants to make in the 2000s. It’s paved the way for Adele as much as it has Drake, and remains seemingly unchanged by the times or their trends.
Album Number: 1 (solo)
Released: August 25, 1998
Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #1 (certified gold, September 1998; certified platinum, September 1998; certified 8x platinum, December 2001)
Song Guests: D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Carlos Santana
Song Producers: (self), Vada Nobles, Che’ Guevara
Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop by Diamond & The Psychotic Neurotics
Within the Diggin’ In The Crates family tree, Diamond D emerged as “the best kept secret” in 1992, when he released Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop. Positioned as a group album (although the Psychotic Neurotics played a minimal role), Diamond stepped to the front as one of the savviest sample-seekers, and a deeply charismatic, stream of consciousness MC. Beat arrangements like “I Went For Mine” reappeared a dozen years later via a Busta Rhymes single, knocking in the mid-2000s just as much as the early ’90s. The LP presents a simple Bronx existence of making beats, smokin’ herb, and circumnavigating the five boroughs. Songs like the Brand Nubian-assisted “A Day In The Life” and “Freestyle (Yo, That’s That Shit)” are unabashedly straightforward. The multi-talented Ultimate Force alum did not take his pen too seriously, but maintained status as one of the best in the ’90s beat community.
Lacking a Top 200 chart appearance or a plaque, Stunts… is very much a precursor to the Underground Hip-Hop movement (which which Diamond would also be involved) at the back-end of the decade. This album’s pure intent and unbending approach would deeply influence Kanye West, 9th Wonder, and Pharrell Williams. Like D.I.T.C. brother Lord Finesse, Dr. Dre, and album guest producer Large Professor, D fashioned himself as an elite triple-threat. As he pointed out on “Fuck What U Heard,” Diamond particularly excelled in avoiding traditional break-beats. The same autumn that The Chronic injected melody to the Rap consciousness, Joe Kirkland’s debut album asserted that samples, arrangements, and programming mattered just as much as lyrics. The next 23 years have proven this to be prophecy, as Stunts, Blunts & Hip Hop has aged beautifully in the cultural consciousness.
Album Number: 1
Released: September 22, 1992
Label: Chemistry/Mercury Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): N/A
Song Guests: Brand Nubian (Lord Jamar and Sadat X), Fat Joe, Big L, Showbiz, LaReese, Bonita, Michelle Sweeting, Jasmine, Maestro, Mike G.Q., Fatman Scoop
Song Producers: (self), Showbiz, Sadat X, Q-Tip, Large Professor, 45 King, DJ Jazzy Jay
So what’s the better album? Make sure you vote above.