Music: Hip-Hop Nation: Lauryn Hill

Ten Grammy nominations, a multiplatinum CD and a drive to make lasting music

Strange that something so alive now could have begun in a museum. In late 1997, Lauryn Hill was visiting Detroit to produce a song that she wrote for her childhood hero, Aretha Franklin. On the way to the airport, she stopped at the Motown Museum. The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5--these were the performers she was reared on. She could picture their 45s scattered across her bed. "It was incredible to me and really inspiring," says Hill. Now she was ready to push forward on her own solo album.

Looking back, looking back. Hill grew up in South Orange, N.J.;...

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