Anyone Like Wyclef?

Obviously today, December 4th, starts a make it or break it period for all urban acts and major record labels that are slated to release albums in this fourth quarter. It could become a tax write-off season, or a watershed moment for the business, when hip-hop acts prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can still move units without resorting to 50 Cent-type tactics. We’ll see.

While there’s been a shitload of internet hype surrounding Ghostface’s new project, as well as DJ Drama’s, and even to a further extent Scarface’s return to rap, I haven’t heard anyone say shit about Wyclef’s new joint, Carnival 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant. And that’s sad, because Clef probably delivered one of the more solid projects I’ve heard in a long time. Not necessarily solid from an all-consuming hip-hop standpoint, but definitely from a musical one. And while one could argue Clef’s been out of his prime as a rapper for some time now (was he ever in his prime?), I can say with a straight face that I’ve always appreciated Clef for the sheer musicianship he displays on his albums. Him and his consortium of producers- Jerry Wonder, Sedeck, Lil Wonder- always deliver projects that are very polished, very creative, and usually a step ahead of everyone else both conceptually and musically.

He’s got a gang of guests on the album, not that shit like that matters in a day and age when your favorite DJs (I see you Khaled, Drama, and Felli Fell) are releasing 7-minute songs and remixes every two weeks with fifteen rappers on them. What matters is making hot records with the features you have, and Clef manages to pull that off. “Sweetest Girl” is one of the best usages of two most overused artists in the music business- Lil Wayne and Akon- and joints like “Fast Car,” with Paul Simon, and “Slow Down,” with TI, are also great records as well. They’re acoustic, but knock like hip-hop records at the same time.

When I interviewed Clef for the Scratch cover story back in the summer time (you remember, the one where he said Lauryn tried to get him for his credit on some records he produced for John Legend), he was still polishing up the project, but I could tell from that early listen that it was a diverse collection of sounds he was going for. He had that Bollywood shit, that Soca shit, that hip-hop shit, that southern shit, that acoustic soul shit. It was really an expansive album.

I suggest everyone go pick it up. You don’t gotta be a real hardcore hip-hop head to appreciate Clef’s stuff. You just gotta like and appreciate good music.

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  • sza

    Nah, no one likes that Bob Marley imposter. No one gives a shit about him or Pras. Lauryn is a nutcase but we’d rather hear something from her than this wash up.

    • Real Talk

      ^^ That is so sad and ignorant, really dreads + singing + from islands doesn not automatically = Bob marley.

      Anyway, Clef has always been dope, even though he lost me with the two albums before this one. The OG carnival is part of the Holy Trinity of Fugee’s albums with the Score and Miseducation. I watched his special on MTV the other day, and between that any your endorsement I’m going to go cop the album today.

      PS. the remix of the single with Rae sucks though. The original beat is perfect for the song, tacking rae on and switching the beat was a great idea, but the execution was horrible. Flip the beat a little or something.

  • NoMamesBuey

    co-sign, the new Wyclef album is dope.

    IMHO Wyclef > Lauryn. Lauryn made 1 excellent solo album then retired, but Wyclef has made several dope solo albums.

    Wyclef 1997 The Carnival is a slept-on classic IMHO.

  • http://hiphopremix.com/content/view/1010/28/ i Fux aka Etheraldinho

    Damn I may have to go back and give it a 2nd listen. I thought it was ass-cheeks when I first heard it. Plus I’ve been inundated with massive amounts of music and I cant go on in thoroughly like I want to. I tend to skip on the foreplay and just go impeccably hard.(none) Free John Forte Bitches! …….Poly Sci = Classic

    RIP Pimp C *sips that LEAN*

  • http://incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    First of all I always hated Wyclef. Just hearing him annoys me. He should just be a producer, behind the scenes kinda guy.

    “without resorting to 50 Cent-type tactics”

    ^^^ Are you kidding me?? What, making rappers go head to head on a date is not a 50 cent tactic??

    • nellz

      the tactic was sayin that kanye wasnt gonna sell more than him…and he would retire if Ye did so

  • Combat Jack

    I mos def eff’s with my hatien brethren. The “Carnival” was fiyah, especially for a BK hip hop kid that unnerstands patois. Good lookin, will definitely “cop” this. Sak passe?

  • reggie

    is cd is soild . i listen to it with a open mind i can’t front it’s good . the ownly thin is i wish it was more track and the features should be keep to a couple

  • safjsaf

    Wyclef Sucks. Down with the Rasta Imposta

  • Casso

    Finally, a XXL blogger that actually has something to say.

    Thanks, bra.