Wyclef Jean, the eclectic front man of the Fugees
and all round superstar. The son of a preacher, Wyclef was born in Haiti
but his family moved to South Florida
when he was a young child. At the age of nine Wyclef moved again, this time to Brooklyn
Wyclef received his first guitar from his mother and by now living in New Jersey played mostly jazz throughout high school. He was close to his cousin Prakazrel 'Pras' Michel and the two spent much time together. They eventually hooked up with a young Lauryn Hill to form the Fugees.
See the Fugees node for detail of Wyclef's time with the group.
Wyclef released his first solo album, The Carnival in 1997, just one year after The Score. He was the first Fugee to branch out on a solo project and he had collaborations with both Pras and Lauryn on the album. The singles Staying Alive and Gone till November were both taken from the LP and were big hits. The record itself has gone double platinum and affirmed that Wyclef could make it as a solo star as well as a Fugee.
Wyclef next hit us with The Ecelftic: 2 Sides II a Book. Another huge album it was released in mid-2000 and had hit platinum by August 2001. The singles It Doesn't Matter featuring WWF's The Rock, 911 featuring Mary J. Blige and Perfect Gentleman. The singles in themselves are an excellent representation of the variety of the LP varying as they do from soulful R&B to East Cost Hip Hop.
As well as his numerous successes as a performing artist Wyclef as done a lot of work producing and writing records. He is known as the man to go to in the main stream hip hop business if you need a hit record. Whitney Houston came to him for My Love is Your Love, he launched Destiny's Child to fame with his remix of No, No, No and he produced his cousin, Pras's, Ghetto Superstar.
Wyclef is a fervent Christian and you will hear a dedication to God on all of his albums. In addition he has become a champion of civil liberties and humanitarian rights in his home country, Haiti. He sings out against the political regime their in tracks like Gunpowder and Bubblegoose. His charity the Wyclef Jean Foundation aims to provide aid to both native and refugee Haitians.
- Intro/Court/Clef/Intro (Skit/Interlude)
- Pablo Diablo (Interlude)
- Prelude to "To All the Girls" (Interlude)
- To All the Girls
- Down Lo Ho (Interlude)
- Anything Can Happen
- Gone Till November
- Words of Wisdom (Interlude)
- Year of the Dragon
- Sang Fézi
- Fresh Interlude
- Mona Lisa
- Street Jeopardy
- Killer Mc (Interlude)
- We Trying to Stay Alive
- Closing Arguments (Interlude/Skit)
- Enter the Carnival (Interlude)
is uses the genius of hip hop to great advantage. The album covers old classics like Guantanamera
and Staying Alive
yet the flavour is new and fresh. Other tracks, like Street Jeopardy
, talk of traditional Hip Hop
subjects like guns and killing. Wyclef continues this theme of new life for old music with Mona Lisa
. The track opens with a sample from the Fugees
album Blunted on Reality
and the line
That was then, this is now
The track itself is a sensual R&B offering in combination with the Neville Brothers
. The album's theme is that of a court case against Wyclef who is accused of being
a Player, a definite bad influence, a god damn revolutionary and capable of inciting many riots.
The court case is a mockery and features the infamous Down Lo Ho, as seen on the Chinese Restaurant sketch on The Score
Mr Lo Ho, let's cut the bullshit, are you and Wyclef partners?
Down Lo Ho:
Hmm, fine, hmm
No, Mr Ho, I mean is he financially backing this whore house?
Down Lo Ho:
Hmm, Ok then.
Jesus Christ (muttered). Mr Ho, does he practice this lifestyle?
Down Lo Ho:
Right, I practice many styles.
Ahh, your Honour, this is dragging out.
Down Lo Ho:
Uuhmm? Dragon? I'll show you dragon, you think I come in the courtroom and don't know what's going on? Try my snake technique.
*Sounds of an object flying through the air*
Ohh, well I studied a little snake myself.
The album is excellent, not The Score
but an excellent Hip Hop
record in its own right. Suprisingly Wyclef shows that Lauryn
lost more by leaving the Fugees
than he did.
- Columbia Records
- Where Fugees At?
- Kenny Rogers-Pharoahe Monch Dub Plate
- Thug Angels
- It Doesn't Matter
- Pullin' Me In
- Red Light District
- Perfect Gentleman
- Low Income
- Whitney Houston Dub Plate
- However You Want It
- Hollyhood to Hollywood
- Something About Mary
- Bus Search
- Wish You Were Here
Wyclef's second solo offering is indeed eclectic. With a dub plate of The Gambler
recorded live with Kenny Rogers
himself. There is Pop Hop, like Perfect Gentleman
to please MTV and harder stuff like Da Cypha
. The R&B aspect is not neglected however and it thrives on tracks like 911
This album builds on the excellent foundation of The Carnival and places Wyclef at the top of the Hip Hop ladder. His musical genius is undeniable and his ability to incorporate all musical genres into a Hip Hop record makes it unsurprising that Hip Hop is taking over MTV and the chart. Despite this development of his style he stays with his roots with tracks like Low Income.