Over the weekend, the once-great Lauryn Hill paid off $900,000 in back taxes. She also announced a new label deal, and released a rare new song called “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix),” all in an attempt to raise enough money to pay off a gargantuan tax debt. It wasn’t enough. Over the past decade, Hill has failed (or, to hear her tell it, refused) to pay about a million dollars of tax debt. And yesterday, a federal judge in Newark sentenced her to three months in prison for it.
Hill’s been ordered to report to prison on July 8, as the Associated Press reports, and there’s still no word on where she’ll be serving. When that’s done, she’ll have three months on home confinement, and then another nine under parole supervision, and she’ll also have to pay a $60,000 fine.
Before the judges ruling, Hill compared the music business, in effect, to slavery: “I am a child of former slaves who had a system imposed on them. I had an economic system imposed on me.” She didn’t say anything after her sentencing.
Hill is still arguably the greatest female rapper who’s ever touched a mic, and she’s also got six kids waiting for her at home, so all of this is just another chapter in an impossibly sad story.