Lauryn Hill was in full command of her powers Thursday night as she took the stage on The Tonight Show to perform her rendition of Nina Simone‘s classic “Feeling Good,” a song that she also recorded for the excellent tribute Nina Revisited LP, released earlier this summer. Opening with just the sparsest of piano cues to support her soaring voice, Lauryn boldly channeled Simone before unleashing her massive live band onto the Fallon set. Strings, horns, swirling organs, backup singers, crashing cymbals and searing guitar all worked to create a maximalist soul strut that seemed to boil over multiple times in the course of just a few minutes. “Feeling Good” is about unflagging personal power and confidence–the original “Know Yourself”–and on The Tonight Show, Lauryn was poise defined. Dipping into rapid scat and, later, a finale that’s sure to send chills up and down spines, all the living rooms and laptop screens in America became Lauryn’s concert hall.
Before Hill took the stage, rapper Ice-T was also welcomed as one of Fallon’s guest. The MC brought along his bulldogs King Maximus and Spartacus, and discussed his new Fox daytime talk show with wife, his great fortune as an actor and the new baby that he and Coco are expecting. The interview included this essential line from Ice: “I can make a baby through a brick wall. Not a problem, not a problem.”
In a prepared skit, Ice-T shared what were allegedly clips from his brief stint as a cartton voice actor, with hilarious results. Watch that clip below, but only after you treat yourself to Lauryn Hill’s rendition of “Feeling Good.” Buy Nina Revisited on iTunes today.