Lauryn, where are your people?!
Just days ago, Lauryn Hill seemed (yet again) poised for another comeback. But now, the star — who’s seen no shortage of personal and professional troubles since rising to fame in 1998 — is in hot water with the IRS.
Federal authorities are charging Hill with tax evasion, saying she failed to file tax returns in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Hill made about $1.6 million in those three years, according to officials, mostly from music and film royalties. Hill also happens to own four corporations, according to court papers.
It’s a case of unfortunate timing for Hill, who just started winning back the trust of her fans after delivering two solid performances on back-to-back nights in New York and New Jersey.
First was her solo, one-night-only engagement at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan, where she rehashed and remixed the best-loved hits from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The show, unlike the ones during her maligned 2011 tour, started on time and featured a hospitable Hill, who assured her fans that she “never abandoned” them.
A day later, when Hot 97 lost Nicki Minaj as the headliner for this year’s Summer Jam (thanks to a few choice and unflattering words from Hot 97 deejay Peter Rosenberg), producers scrambled and sent Ms. Hill out onto the stage, alongside Nas, to rock the crowd with her hip-hop classics — “Lost Ones,” “Ready or Not,” and “If I Ruled The World.” Rolling Stone‘s Jeff Rosenthal wrote that one fan was so stunned by Hill’s appearance that she began to cry.
The two performances were a stark contrast to the ones she delivered over a year ago — the one where she showed up hours late to venues, played unrecognizable versions of her most-loved songs and sometimes became confrontational and hostile with audiences. For fans who have been waiting 14 years for the Lauryn they remember smoothly crooning on “X-Factor” and blithely rhyming on “Lost Ones,” the two performances provided a glimmer of hope.
But now, with the IRS on her case, Hill has much more to worry about than disappointing her ever-loyal fans. If convicted of these federal tax evasion charges, Hill could be dealt up to $300,000 in fines and sentenced to time in prison.