Lauryn Hill released a new song last night, “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix).” It’s a fiercely urgent commentary on social and economic injustice, about the toxic speed of the world we live in. It’s only appropriate that her verses are extremely speedy as well; like the song she is singing is just another part of this crazy hyper-connected and commerce-driven system that surrounds us. “We’re living in a joke time, metaphorical coke time,” Hill starts. “Commerce and guru men, run the whole world man.” These sorts of lyrics make sense coming from someone who just last week wrote the following on her Tumblr, in regards to “parasitic” previous experiences in the music industry, and her recent signing with Sony:
“It has been reported that I signed a new record deal, and that I did this to pay taxes. Yes, I have recently entered into an agreement with Sony Worldwide Entertainment, to launch a new label, on which my new music will be released. And yes, I am working on new music …
It took years for me to get out of the ‘parasitic’ dynamic of my youth, and into a deal that better reflects my true contribution as an artist, and (purportedly) gives me the control necessary to create a paradigm suitable for my needs … My past recordings have sold over 50,000,000 units worldwide, earning the label a tremendous amount of money (a fraction of which actually came to me).
Only a completely complicated set of traps, manipulations, and inequitable business arrangements could put someone who has accomplished the things that I have, financially in need of anything. I am one artist who finds value in openly discussing the dynamics within this industry that force artists to compromise or distort themselves and what they do, rather than allowing them to make the music that people need. There are volumes that could (and will) be said.”
According to Hill, her label forced her to release “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)” last night, and so she took to Tumblr again to explain:
Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… but the message is still there. In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!
The circumstances under which Hill’s new music is surfacing certainly speak to the content of the song. Here Hill is rapping about how the world is too fast and commerce-driven. And here is the music industry giving her more reasons to keep preaching. Check out the song below.