Ah, Lauryn Hill and Nas.
I’ve loved both of you for over 20 years and I can’t wait until your recently announced joint tour comes to my part of town. But I have to admit, I’m a little worried. A lot can go wrong and I’ve been around long enough to see how much of a disaster it can be.
I attended a joint concert on October 31, 2004, at Madison Square Garden. It was Jay Z and R. Kelly’s “Best of Both Worlds” tour. The concert ended halfway through; R. Kelly literally walked off the stage mid-song, saying someone in the audience was pointing a gun. Then he accused long-time Jay Z associate Tyran “Ty-Ty” Smith of spraying him with pepper spray backstage. For years, there was a vicious back-and-forth, including a $91 million lawsuit R. Kelly filed against Jay Z, who filed a counter suit. All issues were settled out of court. The tour continued. R. Kelly was banned. The tour was renamed “Jay Z and Friends.” You two have named your tour “Ms. Lauryn Hill and Nas” and have invited special guests. Let’s hope no one’s name gets dropped — or worse.
Better yet, I have some ideas to keep this tour out of trouble:
So, um, Lauryn. The first date of the tour is September 7 in Chicago. Would it be possible for you to go there now? I’m thinking maybe you can sublet a cute little spot on Lake Michigan. Just think about it. Move now and you’ll probably only be two hours late to your first show. Progress!
Yo, Nas! If she doesn’t move to Chicago this week, you have only one option: 24-hour surveillance! When September 1 rolls around, snatch her up and keep her comfortable for a week. Don’t be surprised if she still manages to disappear. Anyone who can never manage to get to a show on time must have magical powers.
Actually, Nas, I’m not quite sure why you would set yourself up like this. The Lauryn Hill Lateness Issue is super serious. She averages about three hours late and this has happened dozens of times across the country. And when pressed for an answer she said, “The challenge is aligning my energy with the time.” Yes. She really said this. You know it’s bad when always-positive Questlove comes for Lauryn: “Four hours on their feet is inconsiderate and uncalled for.” Nas, make sure your contract with Ms. Hill states that she better figure out how to get her energy into formation starting right now.
This is for both of you. The main reason why people want to see you two together is to see you perform "If I Ruled the World." Lauryn, you’re known for trying to remix your biggest hits when you’re on stage. No bueno. That song is a classic and it should sound the way it did in 1996. Nas, if she goes left with it, cut her mic and let her lip-sync and don’t feel bad.
Real talk, Lauryn. Do you understand that Nas is doing you a favor? And ticket buyers are giving you another chance because, at the least, they’ll see Nas. Don’t take this for granted. You are on the verge of becoming a one-album legacy. Instead, you could successfully tour and keep yourself in the public eye indefinitely. You’re worth more than your usual drama. And so is Nas.
(Photos from left: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images for Hennessy, Gary Miller/Getty Images)