Lauryn Hill’s performance was exciting and thorough. When rapping she gave a raw hip hop delivery, serving up over the top confidence and ripping down verses in a B-girl stance while digging into the microphone with the ferocity you see in freestyle battle rappers. When singing, Ms. Hill was a vocal powerhouse. Beautiful and on point, her voice penetrated deep into inner chambers, triggering the array of emotions she once took us through by singing all of the hits from her “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” album. Fans couldn’t have been happier as she mixed in hits from The Fugees and sweeping renditions of Bob Marley classics.
Ms. Hill and her band displayed true musicianship and artistry through a fusion of hip hop, r&b, doo wop, rock and roll, soul, and reggae with transitions and progressions as sophisticated and spontaneous as jazz music. It was the first time I’ve ever walked away from a hip hop concert hungry to know who did the arrangements.
L-Boogey stayed in command continually entreating her band to “build it up, build it up,” and telling them to “come on, come on,” with unmatched conviction, direction and drive. The result was a musical exploration, giving fans a one of a kind experience and leaving them as awestricken as they were the first time they fell in love with her.
The Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan was the perfect venue for Lauryn to connect with fans in a more intimate setting as was desired by Ms. Hill. The layout, complete with a gigantic screen just off to the side of the stage overlooking the Vegas strip, made it so that wherever you watched the performance you felt like she was right there next to you. Everywhere I roamed from the front row to the VIP balconies, the bars in the back and areas in between, fans were wholeheartedly rocking out to the music as if Lauryn herself could see them. It was hard to determine who was performing for whom. I was amused as I watched men standing tall with hard demeanors shamelessly singing at the top of their lungs with their eyes closed, having one hand over their hearts and the other raised high in the air. It takes a special talent to break through diverse crowds and draw out the same reactions from nearly everyone there.
Lauryn did her thing, solid from start to finish. The best part of all was being able to see Ms. Hill enjoying her fully regained self, and sharing with fans greatness that can’t be found anywhere else in today’s hip hop scene.
All I can say about this moving target is, “Catch her if you can!” With performances like this one, the Moving Target tour is sure to go down as one the strongest and most celebrated comebacks in hip hop history.