Lauryn Hill was released from prison after a three-month sentence for tax evasion today (October 4), but hours before her release she dropped a new track, “Consumerism,” which takes a shot at the corporate system. Listen below.
The song, according to Hill’s Tumblr, “is a product of the space she was in while she was going through some of the challenges she has been faced with recently.” Over a New Age beat, Hill lists a series of -isms including ageism, skepticism, terrorism, chauvinism, masochism, hedonism, nihilism, commercialism, narcissism and egotism, which she spouts off eight times in a row.
In an open letter, Hill explained that, “Consumerism is part of some material I was trying to finish before I had to come in. We did our best to eek out a mix via verbal and emailed direction, thanks to the crew of surrogate ears on the other side.”
Before being incarcerated Hill entered an agreement with Sony to launch her own record label with which to put out her own material. She plans to release five new songs in advance of a full-length studio effort. Prior to serving her sentence, Hill released a new song called “Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix),” which as she explained on Tumblr came together quicker than she would have liked.
“Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline,” she wrote. “I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… but the message is still there.”
Hill says that her upcoming project, Letters From Exile, was “written from a certain space, in a certain place,” while “Consumerism” is something different all together.
“I felt the need to discuss the underlying socio-political, cultural paradigm as I saw it,” she wrote. “I haven’t been able to watch the news too much recently, so I’m not hip on everything going on. But inspiration of this sort is a kind of news in and of itself, and often times contains an urgency that precedes what happens. I couldn’t imagine it not being relevant.”
Hill added, “Messages like these I imagine find their audience, or their audience finds them, like water seeking it’s level.”
The singer has not released a studio album since her 1998 smash The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which she released on Columbia, a subsidiary of Sony.