More than six drama-filled years after the release of her Grammy-winning solo debut, it looks like Lauryn Hill's sophomore studio album is finally nearing fruition — with a little help from Kanye West, perhaps.
The pair have collaborated on at least two songs, and while it isn't certain that the collaborations will make the album's final track listing, given West's spiritual slant, the producer seems like a perfect fit for Hill, whose music has taken an ethereal turn in recent years.
Still, the pair's collaboration is somewhat ironic, considering that West sampled a Hill song for the original version of his track, "All Falls Down." The then-relatively unknown producer couldn't get clearance to use Hill's performance and re-recorded the song using singer Syleena Johnson.
Representatives for West and Hill could not be reached for comment.
Hill's last studio set, 1998's The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, won five Grammy awards and turned her into a household name. However, rumored turbulence in the singer's personal life contributed to a long delay in the release of any new music.
The silence was finally broken in 2002 with MTV Unplugged 2.0, culled from an MTV special of the same name. The album featured Hill singing spiritually driven, acoustic songs while accompanying herself on acoustic guitar (which she'd only recently learned to play). The songs' lyrics reflected the religious and at times mystical bent that some of her comments to the media had taken. The singer's behavior has been unpredictable in recent years (see "Lauryn Hill Attacks Catholic Church At Vatican Concert" and "The Misvaluation Of Lauryn Hill: $15 Music Video Posted Online").
Recently, Hill has turned up to do a series of live performances and even reunited with the Fugees last year for Dave Chappelle's Block Party, which also featured West (see "Chapelle Throwing A Block Party With Kanye, Lauryn, Others"). While talk of a Fugees reunion album has been constant, fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean has often said that any group material would come only after Lauryn has finished this album (see "Wyclef Addresses AIDS Problem In Haiti, Sees 'Great' Future For Fugees").
West has had a remarkably busy schedule in recent months. The producer has worked with Mariah Carey, Common and Twista, among others, on their upcoming projects. He also tried his hand at directing John Legend's new video, "Ordinary People."
West has also been hard at work on his own sophomore release, Late Registration. He has already enlisted the help of John Mayer for the set, which is due this spring (see "Kanye West And John Mayer Collaborate But Won't Elaborate").