12 of the best major label debut albums


Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

The paradigm-shattering Columbia debut solo album from Fugees singer Lauryn Hill completely shifted public perception about not only what a solo female artist could accomplish, but what a hip-hop album could sound like. Its unique blend of neo-soul and rap was like nothing else before or since, and the album sold over 400,000 copies in its first week, produced three top-40 singles (including a number one), was nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, and has since gone on to move over 19 million copies worldwide.

Amazingly, this remains Hill’s only studio album, and she has remained largely out of the public eye since the early 2000s. Her largely self-imposed exile has been subject to much debate and speculation, but nothing that’s happened since, including a brief spell in prison for tax evasion in 2013, can take away what she accomplished with her masterful 1998 debut.

Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Photo: Lauryn Hill