Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything” Lyrics Meaning

During her heyday, Lauryn Hill was not only a premiere emcee but was also perceived as a priestess for the hip-hip community. That is to say that many of her songs and verses had philosophical/spiritual/religious elements to them. And unlike other rap artists who at the time were attempting the same thing, masses of people actually respected Lauryn’s teachings.

One such song which encapsulates her worldview is “Everything is Everything”. This track is not premised on Lauryn’s philosophies per se but rather her desire to help “everyone who struggles in their youth” via her words. And the titular phrase has been likened to another popular term which operates along the same vein, it is what it is.  However, this is not simply a case of Ms. Hill resigning to the unpredictable hand of fate.  Rather what she is putting forth to the listener is that life has its inevitable ups and downs. Therefore “after winter”, i.e. a bad season, passes, then “must come spring”, i.e. something more positive.

So basically she is admonishing the audience not to be overcome by depression or negative thinking, for such is just temporary.

On top of that, she is also acknowledging that “we lose the game before we even start to play”. That’s basically her way of saying that the system is unfair towards certain individuals. 

Meanwhile the rap she drops in the middle of the song is braggadocious in nature, which features L-Boogie dropping a number of intellectual metaphors. And most of them point to the idea of her superiority as a musician. Then the third verse captures what can be deemed as the thesis sentiment of this track. And said sentiment is that despite the challenges faced in life, the intended addressees should remain optimistic and dedicated to achieving their goals.

Music Video

The music video to this track was helmed by a well-traveled director known as Sanji. It went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award, a Soult Train Lady of Soul Award and three MTV VMAs.

“Everything is Everything” on the Charts

This philosophical tune reached number five on the official R&B Charts in UK. And overall charted in seven nations, including making appearances on the following very crucial charts:

  • UK Singles Chart
  • Billboard Hot 100

John Legend is featured on “Everything is Everything”

Interesting to note is that this was the first commercial track which John Legend (who himself would go on to win quite a few Grammys) was actually featured on. However, he did not do so in the singing capacity, which he has become most known for. Rather he played the piano on and was 19 years of age at the time he did so. In fact he went on to recollect that playing on the track was his “little claim to fame” during his senior year in college.

Date of Release

Lauryn released this on 4 May 1999 as the third and last single from her maiden solo project, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”. The labels behind it are Columbia Records and Ruffhouse Records. The album’s first two singles were:

Did Lauryn Hill write “Everything is Everything”?

Yes. The writers of this song are Johari Newton and Lauryn herself, with L-Boogie also producing it.

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