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Over the past decade or so since “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” was released, every so often you would see an article or blog post questioning, “What ever happened to Lauryn Hill?”

Thanks to NPR chasing down the rapper/singer outside of a concert in Santa Rosa, California, now we can know from Hill herself.

“There were a number of different reasons,” Hill said of why she seemed to simply disappear from everything: from performing, from making music – virtually from sight. “But partly, the support system that I needed was not necessarily in place. There were things about myself, personal-growth things, that I had to go through in order to feel like it was worth it.”

During her time away from the spotlight, it sounds like Hill came to the realization that she had, as she put it, to protect the gift that has influenced so many.

“I think if I was created with such power or an ability, then what’s also been put in me is the blueprint for the responsibility part, as well,” Hill said. “I have to take care of myself in order to take care of this gift, which has affected so many. I don’t treat it lightly. It’s important to me to be healthy and to be whole.”

That protection, however, wasn’t easily found within her industry.

“In fact, as musicians and artists, it’s important we have an environment — and I guess when I say environment, I really mean the [music] industry, that really nurtures these gifts,” she said. “Oftentimes, the machine can overlook the need to take care of the people who produce the sounds that have a lot to do with the health and well-being of society, or at least some aspect of society. And it’s important that people be given the time that they need to go through, to grow, so that the consciousness level of the general public is properly affected.”

A lot has changed for Hill over the years – she’s had five kids, she points out, with her youngest, now 2 years of age, just reaching the point where she can be left alone for a bit and be okay. That’s one of the reasons Hill has started to sporadically pop up on stages again, but also, she just thinks it’s time.

“I’m starting to get excited again,” Hill told NPR. “Believe it or not, I think what people are attracted to about me, if anything, is my passion. People got exposed to my passion through music and song first. I think people might realize, you know, ‘We love the way she sounds, we love the music, but I think we just love how fearless she is. How boundless she is, when it comes to what she wants to do.’ And I think that can be infectious.”

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