Ms. Lauryn Hill – “Guarding The Gates”

Tragically, Ms. Lauryn Hill hasn’t released a proper studio album since her endlessly revered 1998 debut The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. Sometimes, I’ve wondered what a new Hill album would sound like, and based on the ways she has switched up the Miseducation songs in her live shows, I have imagined it sounding… less than great. But there’s a new Lauryn Hill song out today, and it sounds spectacular. It makes me want to hear an entire album built around its aesthetic.

The song, “Guarding The Gates,” has been a part of Hill’s live show for a while. Its studio version is making its debut on the soundtrack to Queen & Slim, Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe’s new movie about a black couple who go on the run after shooting a white cop (played by Sturgill Simpson!) during a traffic stop. The soundtrack has given us some good songs thus far from artists including Vince Staples and Megan Thee Stallion, but even if the rest of the tracklist was trash, “Guarding The Gates” would redeem the whole operation. It’s a six-minute space-age soul track that drifts through the ether with the sonic equivalent of divine light. “What a tragedy, you can laugh at me,” she sings, “but I’m in love.”

Me too! Listen below.

The Queen & Slim soundtrack is out now.