Lauryn Hill’s Single ‘Guarding the Gates’ Is Finally Here

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The enigmatic Lauryn Hill has returned with a new song, “Guarding The Gates,” featured on Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack.

“Guarding The Gates” fits squarely into the Motown theme of the film’s soundtrack. A staple of Hill’s live show in recent years, the song updates her earthy Miseducation era, marrying guitar and harp to 808s and ambient synth work.  Hill’s characteristically jaded lyrics write: “Watch them marvel at / All the joy you have / But they’re too important to have all the joy you have.” Her voice, heard today, remains the platonic ideal of contemporary R&B and still carries time-stopping power.

Lauryn Hill hasn’t released a new, original, solo song in six years, since the release of “Consumerism” and “Neurotic Society” way back in 2013. The song is re-worked from one of its older, leaked iterations. The lyrics speak to societal anxieties, prescribing love as their cure.

The film, Queen & Slim, doesn’t come out until Nov. 27, but the soundtrack, which features tracks from Vince Staples, 6lack, Mereba, Syd, Lil Baby, Burna Boy, Blood Orange, and Megan Thee Stallion, among others, is out now. To have a film that follows a Black couple as they unexpectedly become Bonnie-and-Clyde folk heroes married with a Motown music accompaniment is one for the record books.