‘Doo Wop (That Thing),’ Lauryn Hill

The cover of Lauryn Hill's hit single, "Doo Wop (That Thing)."

The cover of Lauryn Hill’s 1998 hit single, “Doo Wop (That Thing).”

In 1998, Lauryn Hill was already well known as a member of The Fugees but achieved her breakout solo hit with “Doo Wop (That Thing)” from her debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It’s an incredible balancing act of a single, blending traditional R&B sounds with modern hip-hop and delivering sober, serious lyrics with a light, playful touch.

“It’s silly when girls sell their souls ’cause it’s in,” sings the South Orange native at one point.

“How you gonna win when you ain’t right within?” she asks at another.

Even the video shows two sides of her, as she sings both parts simultaneously, dressing and arranging her hair to reflect both the ’60s and the ’90s.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill produced other hits, too, but nothing as big as “Doo Wop (That Thing),” and Hill won the R&B Song and Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammys for it in 1999.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday last year. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we are marking the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. We started in September 2014, and will keep going until late in the summer.

If you would like to suggest any songs to be included, please let me know in the comments section underneath the video. And if you want to see the entire list, either alphabetically or in the order the songs were selected, click here.

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