Lauryn Hill Releases A Song For Those Wondering Where Her Mind Is

For the last 20 years, Ms. Lauryn Hill has been scarce with new music. The legendary singer and MC has released just a handful of solo songs this decade. However, 2019 has been more active than in other years. L-Boogie made a rare return to Hip-Hop collaborations, assisting Pusha-T on “Coming Home.” The previously-leaked song was formally released by G.O.O.D Music in late August.

Now, Lauryn returns with another track, “Guarding The Gates.” Although the song belongs to the Queen & Slim soundtrack (Vince Staples, EARTHGANG, Mereba, Bilal, BJ The Chicago Kid, etc.), the Sony-released record sounds deeply personal, especially given Hill’s reclusive and at times, defensive nature in recent years. Ahead of a 2013 tax evasion conviction, Hill posted on social media that she had “withdrawn from society” to protect her family. The singer and Fugees co-founder also suggested that she’d gone “underground.” “Guarding The Gates” is a song about defending one’s choices in pursuit of love. While the lyrics, written by Lauryn, may appear abstract. They certainly seem to apply to her image as of late.

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The nearly six-minute song sees Lauryn crooning lyrics over an acoustic guitar. “Everybody wants to know, ‘where you goin’ to? / What you runnin’ from? / What you goin’ through? / Where you comin’ from?’” opens the verse, where she remixes the phrases, adding, “‘Cause they wanna come, where I’m showing you.” She adds that that pathway leads to a place of joy.

What a tragedy / You can laugh at me / But I’m in love,” Lauryn bellows a few bars later, before asking the listener if they wish they could relate, and repeating the declaration. “Trying to fix myself, for society / Trying to mix myself, for society / But can you tell me where is love in anxiety?” she asks, in song. “What you say to me, I don’t mind at all / What you say to me, I don’t care at all / ‘Cause I’m in love / Don’t you wish you were happy in love? / I know you do. Yes, I’m in love.

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As the song builds, Lauryn addresses the speculation about a lifestyle. She then returns to the point that people wish to follow the speaker. This time though, she changes the tune. “Everybody wants to know / Where you goin’ to / ‘Cause they want to come / Or so they think, until they find the cost of it / Til they find out, find out what you lost for it / And I’d do it all again, ’cause I found love.

Ms. Hill finishes the song with some vocal riffing. “These broken thoughts are in my mind / Can’t let ’em get down in there / ‘Cause I need real love,” she sings. The title metaphor of guarding the gates is used as the song concludes.

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New music by Lauryn Hill is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads Playlist.