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 Ahead of a 2013 tax evasion conviction, Hill posted on social media that she had “withdrawn from society” to protect her family.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.
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.”
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.
New music by Lauryn Hill is currently on the official Ambrosia For Heads Playlist.