Lauryn Hill

One of the most highly regarded female artists of the late 1990s, singer Lauryn Hill rose to fame as a member of the hip-hop trio the Fugees, before achieving even greater acclaim with her 1998 solo debut, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She began singing as a youth before segueing into acting, most notably in "Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit" (1993), which showcased her strong, supple vocal talents. But music became her focus after the tremendous success of the Fugees' Grammy-winning second album, The Score (1996), which featured her take on the Roberta Flack classic "Killing Me Softly." At the height of the Fugees' popularity, Hill struck out on her own with Miseducation, which took its cues from classic soul, jazz and hip-hop for hit songs like the No. 1 single "Doo Wop (That Thing)." The record reaped five Grammys, establishing Hill as a major star, but she soon turned away from the music business, citing her distaste for its image-driven aspects. She would return sporadically to recording, most notably with MTV Unplugged 2.0 (2002), while maintaining a hermetic lifestyle marked by religious study. After nearly a decade of self-imposed exile, Hill resurfaced with new material in 2010, once again igniting hope from fans and the industry alike for a follow-up to her debut album. Hill's best work underscored her standing as an exceptionally gifted and still-promising artist.