Wyclef
Stronger

wyclef.jpgWyclef Jean’s got his swagger back. After quietly dropping his Creole/English disc Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101 (Sak Pasé/Koch) in October 2004, the former Fugees frontman has been making some noise as of late. Producing two tracks on T.I.’s upcoming album, T.I. vs. T.I.P. (the two formed a working relationship after ’Clef asked to use Tip’s studio during a recent visit to ATL,) the multifaceted producer/singer/rapper is looking to return to the hip-hop spotlight. For the past three years, the veteran MC has been busy crafting hits for artists such as pop superstar Shakira (“Hips Don’t Lie”), country singers Big & Rich (“Please Man”) and German songstress Sarah Connor [“One Nite Stand (Of Wolves and Sheep)”]. In addition, ’Clef concentrated on promoting humanitarian aid to his homeland through his charitable foundation, Yéle Haiti.

As far as hip-hop, though, ’Clef hasn’t scored a Top 10 Billboard hit of his own since “911,” the 2000 collaboration with Mary J. Blige off his platinum album, The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. The Haitian born MC looks to change that this September with the release of his sixth solo project, The Carnival 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant. ’Clef, however, claims the album is not an attempt to recreate his classic debut, The Carnival (1997). Instead, he’s injecting some youthful enthusiasm into his music, calling on T.I. to co-executive produce the disc. The LP will also feature appearances by heavyweights such as Lil Wayne, Mary J. Blige, Akon, Chamillionaire, will.i.am, Paul Simon and Nicole Scherzinger of the Pussycat Dolls. XXLMag.com recently caught up with Wyclef during a break from shooting a video for T.I.’s new single, “You Know What It Is.” In between takes, ’Clef reveals the science behind The Carnival 2, his relationship with T.I. and why fans shouldn’t give up on a Fugees reunion.

Tell us a little about The Carnival 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant. Based on the title, it sounds like you’re trying to recapture the vibe of the first Carnival?
No, we move on. You can never reduplicate it. This is 10 years later. The Carnival 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant is a continuation. Remember, on [the original] The Carnival, I said, “If you can get your ticket, you can come along.” So on The Carnival 2, once again, I’ve been traveling to Haiti, Africa, Brazil… I just caught a vibe. When I went to Haiti, I started doing my charity work with [my organization] Yéle Haiti. [There’s] eight million people depending on me, so I felt the relevancy, ya know.

Musically, how would you compare the two albums?
Sonically, I would say [The Carnival 2] is a continuation of where I left off. No one’s gonna hear The Carnival 2 and say, “Man, he fell of sonically.” I would say from those who got The Carnival 1; The Carnival 2 is just a continuation of the sonic [feel] but taking it to the next level.

A lot of artists try to duplicate their previous albums later in their career but most fail. Did that play a part in your mindset going into this album?
Yeah, I think what happens is, as an artist, you gonna have different paintings. One painting can inspire another. But I think if I try to recreate The Carnival 1— bringing back the “bishop” skit—that’s a gimmick. It’s not the ’Clef of today. It’s a different vibe [but] you will feel the inspiration of [the first Carnival].

What role is T.I. playing on the album?

T.I. is one of my co-executive producers. What I’m doing with the album… the mind state I have is sort of like Gershwin presents Porgy and Bess [George Gerswhin’s famous 1930’s opera]. I took artists like T.I. and put ’em over a guitar riff, or Akon and put him over a choir, or Lil Wayne. I wanna combine the young and old, like they’re gettin’ together. So what I did is, when I recorded a lot of stuff, I would play it for T.I. Because I wanted to know his vibe, like how was he feelin’ [about] this? ’Cause I would be singing a straight up song but [he’d] be like, “Man, this is crazy.”

What did you take away from your time working with T.I.?
I would say what I really learned from T.I., working with him and being in the studio with him a lot, is sort of [the] flyness. ’Cause what happened is, sometimes you can come across so deep in the lyrics, [but] saying it more simpler is probably flyer. So I would say T.I. probably put my lingo and swagger up. [Laughs]

Pras recently told MTV News that a Fugees reunion is unlikely. After everything you guys have gone through, the on and off again reunion, is it safe to say it’s never going to happen?
Man, I wouldn’t really say that. I think as long as we keep putting good music out there… I might do a song [and] it might touch The Fugees. Lauryn might do a song and it touches me, ya know. I think The Fugees was something organic. But remember what you said, for The Fugees to do another album, it’s not trying to recreate The Score. It’s about the modern times—what we’ve been through and how people can go past what we’ve been through and still make it happen. So you know me, I never give up hope. I’m like the number one Fugees fan. I would never say I don’t think there will never be a Fugees album.

  • Goonie

    Fuck a Wycleff, T-Pain is better

  • tony starks

    clef wasn’t asking T.I. to be an exec when he wasn’t on da scene now mans hopping on his cock.

  • tony starks

    clef wasn’t talking bout T.I. when he wasn’t known now mans producing his albulm? does he really think T.I. has aa creative element to work on his abulm or is he just hopping on T.I’s dick because of all da buzz he’s getting and da profile his album will get. the games really changing when established artist feed of new comers in order to get a profile. fucked up.

  • myBigBalls

    um nigga u cant compare them nigga( t-pain and wyclef) plus it don matter cause they both trash.

  • changs332000

    first!! NIGGA CANT RAP!

  • The Truth

    What qualifications and or track record does T.I. have to justify him as a capable exec. producer. First B.G. now Wyclef. This makes them look suspect and desperate.

    I bought my first Big Tymers album in 1997 and love what Cash Money brought to the game. The Fugees were beyond talented. This is not hate, just The Truth. A plea to veteran artist, please stop making yourselves look like fools and do you with out playing yourself.

  • DADE COUNTY 305

    NIGGAZ QUIT THE HATIN!!! CLEF IS A TRUE ARTIST. HE’S NOT THE BEST RAPPER BUT HE MAKES GOOD MUSIC… 4 U NIGGAZ TALKIN BOUT HE WASNT TRYIN 2 HOLLA AT TIP B4 HE BLEW, THATS CRAZY 4 PPL 2 SAY THAT. NIGGAZ GOTTA SHOW AND PROVE THEY’RE GIFTED. U NIGGAZ WOULDNT WANT A NIGGA WORKIN ON YOUR SHIT IF U DIDNT REP.

  • Holla

    Hip-Hop REALLY is dead if people think T-Pain is a better artist than Wyclef. G listen to The Score and The Carnival.

  • myBigBalls

    nigga’s frontin like the was bumping “gone til november” that shit is still fiyah. T -pain doesn’t even compare 2 clef that nigga clef was ballin’ with all them exotic cars b4 niggas even knew what the fuck they was. Yo! big balls you an ass that’s why I’m using ya e-mail and shit…lmao…. “my bigballs@msn.com” how original of you FAG

  • Leslie

    hey, listen…you gotta give Clef hes props too fools…T-pain n Clef r two different ppl with different mentalities…Clef is an inspirational artist…hes one of the artist that i could compare to Bob Marley…n I assure u that u gon like hes upcoming LP, only if u a grown n support good music.

  • Freddy(Vega$)

    big up wyclef!!! one of the realest niggaz left!!

  • http://www.king-mag.com Matt Caputo

    Wyclef while probably get pushed back Til November.

  • G-SWE

    I THINK T-PAIN & WYCLEF ARE TWO HANDSOME BROTHERS!

  • REAL TALK

    THE WHOLE SOUTH SUCKS ESPECIALLY FLORIDA ‘”WE TAKING OVER” YEAH RIGHT!TAKING OVER R&B WITH ALL YOUR SINGING!FUCK T PAIN!BACK IN THE DAY YOU GET UR ASS KICKED IF YOU MENTIONED A FAG LIKE THAT!

  • south niggas are fuckin dummies

    fuck wyclef little hatian ass!!!

  • Teddy

    Wycleaf is one of the best artists in the whole industry.He can play instruments n make beats hes not that bad of a rapper either.Its sad that somebody would even compare t-pain to him.As far as ti fuck that dude his shit is all production.

  • http://jarredr_904yahoo.com J-Reese

    BRING THE FUGEES BACK THAT WHATZ REALY GOOD

  • rec

    Goonie Says:

    June 18th, 2007 at 10:23 am
    Fuck a Wycleff, T-Pain is better
    ^^^^^^
    What!? HA HAHA HA HAHA…ummm HA HAHA HA…guess that’s your opinion

  • Alex

    Fuck T-Pain asshole #1 Wyclef got a ton loads more money than that robotic voice pussy

  • Chris S

    after hearing “dangerous,” nobody can ever tell me that wyclef was ever strong….let alone getting stronger

  • Octane

    Wycleaf is one of the best artists in the whole industry…… POINT AND GAME!

  • NAWLEDGE

    EY YO “SOUTH NIGGA”, FUCK YOU!!! DONT DISRESPECT MY HAITIAN PEOPLES!!! GET MAMON!!! (THATS SOME CREOL 4 YO ASS) & REAL TALK, WATCHU TALKIN ABOUT? WE TAKIN OVER DIDNT ONLY FEATURE ARTISTS FROM FLORIDA U DUMBASS!! LAST I CHECKED FAT JOE, T.I, LIL WAYNE, BABY, AND AKON WERE NOT FROM FLORIDA. FUKIN IDIOT.

  • My Effin’ Opinion

    Wyclef isn’t the best artist, but whoever truely doesn’t think that Wyclef isn’t a talented brother needs to have their head examed.

  • http://www.myspace.com/0zgur Özgür – www.myspace.com/0zgur

    Stronger ????

    he said he learned some from T.I.

    if he was stronger..He wouldnt need dat !!!

    i remember when he tried to sing in turkish in a TARKANs album (a Turkish Pop Singer)…

    Hes Funny…

    aint Shit

  • http://www.myspace.com/astronomikl astronomikl

    You know what would be really live, is if they just recorded that shit in secret then dropped it on everyone. That shit would be real nice. Even in todays world I bet they could do that, and we wouldnt know about it until it was being shipped. That would be so live if they did that, but they would also have to have a banging ass album too. Wishful thinking never hurt no one.

  • D$MONEY$

    all ur haters need to suck a dick bitches n YEA WE TAKIN OVER

  • http://xxlmag.com heavyweight

    You re all dumbass if you try to compare clef to t-pain(hip hop is dead)
    Wyclef is the best and will be back
    just wait

  • http://xxlmag.com heavyweight

    i beleive that clef is a good singer/producer/rapper and everybady know dat you will see it in his next lp
    soonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn……………

  • jon

    if you know music then you gotta respect wyclef.period.he’s one of the most talented artist out. he’s not just a rapper but a musician.haters.

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