#4: Lauryn Hill, MTV Unplugged No. 2.0 (2002). The whole purpose of the MTV Unplugged series is to showcase an artist in a stripped-back, relaxed environment, away from the spectacle of a traditional concert setting. Ms Lauryn Hill takes the concept even further by treating the experience as a personal and professional emancipation.
Following the enormous success of Hill's debut (and only studio album to date) The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill in 1998, she became withdrawn with the negative aspects of fame and show business. This album details the struggles and joys Hill experienced during this period.
A clear departure from her Neo-Soul and hiphop roots, the album which featured just Hill and her acoustic guitar, favoured a folk and soul style track list which oozed confidence, sophistication, and unpretentiousness. I wish most of these songs were recorded in a studio and released as singles.
What's most impressive is the genuine sincerity Hill expresses in each of the tracks, some of which are accompanied with spoken word interludes detailing her songwriting and life experiences.
Whilst this album is a little lengthy, it's never dull. It showcases Hill's range and style, her songwriting, her imperfections, her sense of humour and her wit.
I totally get that this is a polarising record - you either like it, or you don't. I love it, and if you've never heard it, I strongly suggest you do.