Lauryn Hill Comes Out Firing With 'Consumerism'

As she prepares to leave prison, Hill drops a scathing new track that takes aim at society's ills.

Lauryn Hill is set to be released from prison on Friday, after serving a three-month sentence for tax evasion ... and she's coming out with her defiant streak intact.

She's just premiered a brand-new track, "Consumerism," recorded in part before she entered a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut back in July, then completed via phone calls and emails while she served out her term. And, as you can probably gather from its title, Hill's got plenty on her mind.

Over a skittering drum pattern that repeatedly expands and contracts, Hill rails against "corporate greed in Jesus' name," and takes shots against "ageism, sexism, racism, fascism and neo-McCarthyism." Flutes and keyboards blur into a stony haze, Hill's voice echoes, as if she's preaching from the pulpit, and a ghostly choir lends their affirmations to the din. There's also the song's rather pointed subtitle, "Part One: Letters From Exile," which suggests she's been stewing away this entire time, and now, there's no one who can silence her.

In terms of sonics and sentiments, it's similar to "Neurotic Society," the track she premiered days before being sentenced, and much like she did with that song, she penned an open letter that accompanied "Consumerism's" release, one that explains the space she was in — both mentally and physically — when she wrote her lyrics, and lays out her intent to bring her message to the masses.

"I felt the need to discuss the underlying socio-political, cultural paradigm as I saw it. I haven't been able to watch the news too much recently, so I'm not hip on everything going on," she wrote. "But inspiration of this sort is kind of news in and of itself, and often times contains an urgency that precedes what happens ... messages like these I imagine find their audience, or their audience finds them, like water seeking its level."