Lauryn Hill proves she still has That Thing
Lauryn Hill didn't just show up - she was up on time and killed it.
Since it was announced last year that The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill 20th Anniversary Tour would be coming to Johannesburg, the excitement has been marred by reports of her lack of punctuality or if she would even show up.
But as soon as she hit the Ticketpro Dome stage with Everything is Everything on Saturday night, those doubts fast became a thing of the past.
The 43-year-old Grammy-winning star looked angelic in a black leather Kenzo cap, white tulle gown and mismatched chandelier earrings. With zero theatrics, Hill was in fine form - from stage presence to vocal range and fiery energy.
To the delight of the crowd - that included A-listers Warren Masemola, Ndaba Mandela and Shekinah - she hit every high note she needed to and her flow on every rap verse was smooth as butter.
Although her attempt at speaking vernacular was awful, it was endearing and she established rapport with the audience very early on in the show. "Fix my accent for me, you ready? We have Zulus. I was also told we have Sotho...," she said and was met with roaring screams from fans.
"So I imagine Joburg is big enough that they are probably different accents and dialogues. But I like saying Xhosa."
Performing favourites such as Doo Wop (That Thing) and Ex-Factor, she proved why she defined an entire generation once upon a time.
Hill took it to the street and church and even got political, but not once did the party slow down. "Africa has always been rich. For the community of people that I grew up around we always looked to Africa, despite the energies and messages that try to poison us against the motherland," she charged. "We always knew that we had a homeland and we always wanted to live honourably to respect our mother."
After one and a half hours, Hill's set culminated with songs from her Fugees days (Killing Me Softly with His Song) and a reunion with Nas to perform If I Ruled the World.
By the time she was done, just before midnight, she gave presumably her stage manager, referring to her as Rebecca, quite a headache as she refused to get off the stage. "Hold on. Let's do one more. Drop that joint," she said.
Nas, who opened for Hill with a high-octane performance of his impressive catalogue earlier in the night, clearly enjoyed performing in Johannesburg.
"I can't wait to be back here, the spiritual connection here is amazing." he said.
"It's not every day that we come here, we need to come here more often. Johannesburg this is like a dream."