Lauryn Hill Pens Letter Addressing Tax Problems, Clarifies Sony Deal

Lauryn Hill urges that fans don't believe the hype about the news of her financial woes, and while confirming reports of a new Sony deal, places some blame on the parent company of her longtime label.

On Monday (April 22), emcee/singer Lauryn Hill appeared before a judge for sentencing in a tax evasion hearing. The New Jersey native was reportedly ordered to pay a million dollars in penalties and back-taxes from failure to file in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and had two weeks to do so. Reports quickly followed that Hill, who is also allegedly facing eviction in a local residence, had signed with Sony, with whom she recorded (through Ruffhouse/Columbia Records) as both a member of The Fugees and as a multi-platinum soloist.

Yesterday (April 25), Lauryn Hill broke the silence and took to her Tumblr page to react to the news and the verdict. Writing as "MLH," for "Ms. Lauryn Hill," the singer countered some of the reported information, and confirmed other aspects. The full letter is re-published below:

"It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music.
I’ve remained silent, after an extensive healing process. This has been a 10+ year battle, for a long time played out behind closed doors, but now in front of the public eye. This is an old conflict between art and commerce… free minds, and minds that are perhaps overly tethered to structure. This is about inequity, and the resulting disenfranchisement caused by it. I’ve been fighting for existential and economic freedom, which means the freedom to create and live without someone threatening, controlling, and/or manipulating the art and the artist, by tying the purse strings.
It took years for me to get out of the ‘parasitic’ dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs. I have been working towards this for a long time, not just because of my current legal situation, but because I am an artist, I love to create, and I need the proper platform to do so.
The nature of my new business venture, as well as the dollar amount reported, was inaccurate, only a portion of the overall deal. Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).
Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.

RELATED: Judge Gives Lauryn Hill Two Weeks To Repay Tax Debt


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  • Anonymous

    What happened to Martin Lawrence? He just disappeared.

  • Anonymous

    "Keep in mind, my past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me)" Not buying it. She should have been set for life off The Fugees album, then her solo.

  • Anonox

    What she should have wrote: Dear IRS, Oops, I forgot. In retrospect, I realize this wasn't the brightest thing I could have done. Signed, Lauryn

  • Anonymous

    GIVE ME A CHANCE Youtube is all about finding new artist, & though I been rapping for a while im still consider a new artist. I just want my music heard thats all, im not looking for no record deal, getting famous 'r anything like that.! so please just spare a few sec. to check me out, & if you like what you heard please SUBSCRIBE so ill know you actually listen & support


    Hahaha now Lauren has to "work" to desperately try and pay back those taxes, guess that means less time hittin the crack pipe. Stupid azz ugly gutta ho. Next thing to happen: Lauren gets cancer. Lol

  • Anonymous

    Such an intelligent black woman. She graduated at the top of her class in high school, got a scholarship into an Ivy league school and made the best music a rapper or singer could make. FACT!!

    • get off her dick

      "Such an intelligent black woman" HAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAA yeah so intelligent that she cant file her taxes or even pay her rent, dumbass. The reality is shes a crack ho and an idiot. Sucked too much dick and smoked too much crack.

    • Anon

      Then why wasn't she smart enough to handle her money and pay her taxes? At the end of the day, she's responsible for taking care of that, or making sure whoever she paid to look after that actually did the work.

  • donnis mac

    We got man (Scarface), woman (Lauryn), bombing the industry. Child is next...

  • Big D

    My past future wifey is still talking crazy. Damn gurl what happened? From the things you write, you've not only been on that crazy bus way past your stop, but you've now convinced yourself its all other people's fault. How do you fix yourself in this scenario? You have a deal, I am sure you'll get enough upfront to pay your taxes, but if you come with some weird eesh you think is artistic and expressing whatever nonsense has possessed you, you won't sell and you'll lose the deal. This is your last chance. You can't go way left baby. Give us the Lauren we expect...for your sake. We've moved on, we're willing to give you another chance and if you still have it, we'll be behind you, but we've moved on. You can't move on from you. It almost put you in jail the last time and I am sure that relationship you thought was all that, put you in a lot of pain, so don't be weird and stay away from the potheads. You are too smart to be with some dude that wants to smoke all front of the kids too probably.

    • SFTU

      Shut up retard, you think she's actually gonna read your shitty advice? And pot is the least of her worries, its the harder drugs and promiscuous sex that she needs to cut out.

  • Rick Ross

    Lauryn Hill is a dyke and addicted to crack cocaine BAWSE!

  • 614grind

    We losin all the real talent to this money grab bullshit lie they sellin you. We lost Lauren, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Griffin, Katt Williams, Martin Lawrence, and a host of others to this shit. When are we gonna ride for black excellence? Damn...nevermind. I just remembered what site I was on.

    • anonymous

      You took the words right out my keyboard, nobody comes up that big and walks away for no apparent reason. Lauryn was killin the game on straight talent. Plaques, awards, number 1 singles you name it she's had em solo or group. If she was really trying to be on she would've kept on making music instead of making Bob Marley's grandkids.

    • People Please

      Truth, this site is like a hip hop version of TMZ and the majority of the readers are women hating n-word using children...

  • hypestyle

    Is Lauryn still hooked up with some bizarre cultish Pastor's movement? That seemed to really put her over the rails, whatever you may feel about Rohan Marley...

  • 614grind

    Everybody disrespecting the queen are just pissed because they couldn't get past the first paragraph without pulling out a dictionary.

  • Cracked out

    Saw her in chicago with Nas recently... she seemed totally out of her mind, cracked out, and by the end of her set only 10% of the crowd remained. Didnt even play any of her hits save for 1 or 2...and they were remixed. I think shes lost her mind!

  • The Decatur Dictator

    Now, read below at all of the ignorant people that could not comprehend her letter comment some ignorant crap below like...she done son, Niki took her spot!, nobody is checking for her, she's busted son, she smoked too much weed son!. When in actuality she was clearly stating that she is not like a puppet like so many industry people that have to sell out (be who they are not) to get a record deal. Now back to your sorry ass lives.

    • The Decatur ATL BOI

      Agreed, but once reality hits and they cannot afford the rent, gas, utilities or a damn car that actually runs; then they will reflect on the time they wasted in school not doing anything but listened to trinidad james and wacka flacka. It will happen.

    • 614grind

      Lost souls. They don't know shit except how to be disrespectful and dick ride; no critical thinking skills. I feel sorry for these kids that have been programmed by standardized testing and mass media. They have no idea how to retain information other than lyrics from corporate slaves with a mic.


    broke ugly bitch just remember sex sells in music if your a female you have to cake yourself up with make up and try to look somewhat sexy to get any where in the music industry. Just remember when you go out with a girl if she wears lipstick thats a sign she probably spends 5 hours putting on make up and hiding her ugly shit and is probably not the type of girl you wanna wake up too next morning.

  • Fresh 2 Def

    lauren hill is old and busted. nicky minaj took her throne.. and actually nicky needs to be carefull cus cori b is right behind her! snoop daughter can drop knolwedge and bars



    • Anonymous

      Better than Lauryn at what? Rappin? Singing? Record sales? Better at what? Popularity? She tries to hide and we still talk about her imagine if she wanted the attention. Who's style did she jack? No one.

    • YESSIR


    • anonymous

      Say that when Niki gets an album of the year grammy, or best new artist, or best rnb then we'll talk Nikki being better.



  • Anonymous

    lies lies lies bullshit bullshit bullshit lies lies lies broad blames ** EVERYONE ** but herself, huh? with all her opportunity, she DESERVES to be in jail for being such a spoiled cunt... let some real hard luck story out of the can and give him (or her) another chance, THEY ** might ** deserve it. Lauryn Hill, fucking deadbeat, definitely does NOT.

  • Anonymous

    she's sooo gone! factually speaking, you were an artist signed to a contract which requires obligated duties. plain and simple. she's making more than what it is because it sounds like she couldnt take it no more in the biz, so she bailed.I've lost tremendous respect for lauryn. she disappointed me.

  • KingO

    what a dumb chic...her peeps, fans, and other folks tried to get her to avoid pregnancy because lauryn had so much potention becoming a single artist. And then, what does she do? she throws it all away to be a housewife. So now, she's looking for sympathy...PULEEEZE!!!! wasted talent, she is

    • The Decatur ATL BOI

      TO KingO: "only a saltine cracker would say something like that to show off their prejudice. you came up with something like that off of a typo.....get out of genre....sucka"-NEGRO PALEEZE! I AM black fool, I just hate that you negro's can't read or write an intelligent statement to save your damn lives! You read the letter from Lauryn and everyone calls her busted, done, broke, a weed head when you actually missed the whole damn point! The point she was making was she is not a damn slave to this culture that you celebrate with open arms. A culture that does not enrich yo dumb ass, it takes from yo dumb ass. I could rant forever but the bottom line is this...hip hop since '88 nego's, I know about artist and what they actually mean when they say something. I just don't scream out shi^ and call it Ice Cream. Dumb Bastards. I wouldn't waste my time explaining my pedigree.

    • Big Dan

      Go easy on Mr. Potention:) I get what he is trying to say. Way back when, when Lauren wrote a song talking about how people tried to get her to have an abortion, while I am anti abortion, I just though right there that if she thought she was going to go on and have a wonderful relationship with Mr. Marley - we knew it was a Marley, though not which one, well I didn't, she has lost her mind. And that is exactly how she played out. She went in the relationship, then got knocked up (maybe I have my timeline wrong) and then she got strange and destroyed a very promising career. She was probably ordered to stay home and play wifey while being medicated with a lot of weed and couldn't handle it.

    • KingO

      only a saltine cracker would say something like that to show off their prejudice. you came up with something like that off of a typo.....get out of genre....sucka

    • Anonymous

      obviously that was a typo....and didnt spell check. you lack of intelligence speaks volumes because you guys totally avoided the good points while stressing a typo, which happens all the time. I hate the fact that losers like ya'll are in the rap game or a fan of it and think you are relevant, when you aren't.

    • Anonymous

      what a fool you are...

    • The Decatur ATL BOI

      Agreed. What the hell is potention? Let me look it up, stand by............................................................................................................................................................................................ Oh, here is something from the "Urban Dictionary-Ignorant folk book" (it's the only place I found it)-POTENTION-a mix of pretension and potential. the word originated on the internet...and that is most likely where it will stay.

    • 614grind

      "Potention"??? You're credibility is gone off top.