Lauryn Hill’s career has displayed many different genres of work. Though she is predominantly hip-hop, her albums tend to show several different kinds of music, like reggae, soul, R&B, and even folk. In “Mystery of Iniquity” she displays two genres, hip-hop and folk, within the same song. When looking at articles on Folkhop as a genre, there is only a wikipedia site, so I want to break it down by studying both genres.
Hip-Hop and folk share many similarities in content, they are just very different stylistically. Hip-Hop is known to be a way to confront and has been said to be built on themes of social justice. “Mystery of Iniquity” includes this side of Hip-Hop head on. The lyrics are entirely calling for justice in many social issues of the time. The timing and structure of the song are also more closely related to Hip-Hop than folk, especially for the verses, which are entirely in the style of Hip-Hop.
The folk side of this song comes from both the instrumentation and the lyrics. Folk music is traditionally more about community than being more mainstream, and this album was not very mainstream, especially in regards to Lauryn Hill’s first album. The music is more traditional. Like Hip-Hop, folk music tends to discuss social issues head on.
When preforming it, Lauryn Hill even has some versions more folk like and some more Hip-Hop. Here is a folk example:
And Here is a more Hip-Hop version:
Lauryn Hill’s exploration of different genres are part of what makes her an incredible artist. The two genres she has chosen for this album and song both work well with her themes of social justice.