In an era where pure album sales have plummeted due to on-demand streaming, Lauren Hill’s first and only solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, has sold more than 10,000,000 units since its release a little over two decades ago, claiming the coveted diamond status.
This makes Hill the first female rapper to have a diamond album, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced via Twitter on Tuesday night. The RIAA counts a sale as either a physical purchase, 10 tracks from a single album downloaded, or 1,500 streams of tracks from an album as of 2016.
She now joins the likes of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Eminem, Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., and OutKast.
The 1998 solo album made history at the time as the album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold over 400,000 copies within its first week shattering any previous first-week sales record held by any female artiste.
Hits like “Everything Is Everything” made Hill a household name and at the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, her album hit another milestone earning 10 nominations, an achievement no other female artiste at the time had attained in a single night. Hill swept home five of the awards that night including Album of the Year, Best R&B Album, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for “Doo Wop (That Thing).”
According to Revolt, the ‘Doo Woop’ singer had a successful career with her group the Fugees and an even more successful solo album. Many anticipated a follow-up album but that never came.
Speaking with Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums” podcast last month via email, Hill explained why the album never happened. In her words, everyone preferred to include the achievement of the album in their own success stories, and no one from her label ever brought up another album.
“The wild thing is no one from my label has ever called me and asked how can we help you make another album, EVER… EVER. Did I say ever? Ever!” Hill revealed. “With The Miseducation, there was no precedent. I was, for the most part, free to explore, experiment and express.”
“After The Miseducation, there were scores of tentacled obstructionists, politics, repressing agendas, unrealistic expectations, and saboteurs EVERYWHERE. People had included me in their narratives of their successes as it pertained to my album, and if this contradicted my experience, I was considered an enemy.”
To Hill, the album aimed to honor everyone who had paved the way for her and given her kind of music a platform, and it did just that.
She added that in recording The Miseducation, she felt at the time the onus was on her to do so and by going for it, she challenged the status quo and introduced “a new standard.”
“At that time, I felt like it was a duty or responsibility to do so… I challenged the norm and introduced a new standard. I believe The Miseducation did that and I believe I still do this — defy convention when the convention is questionable.”