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More Wyclef

Since there was such a cold reception to my Carnival 2 post on Tuesday, I’m cracking open the original word document containing the transcriptions of the Wyclef interview that took place for the Scratch cover with him and TI from the September/October issue. Here are some of the outtakes.

On The Fugees’ making of “Mona Lisa”:

“When we did ‘Mona Lisa’ the cat that did the record, his name was Salaam Remi. Salaam did the beat. I came up with the hook. He said to me at the time, Yo man, ya’ll ill. Ya’ll got a thousand voices. If you can simplify it, and in one thing identify it with something…. you know like you gotta think of like when you grew up in Marboro projects, Flatbush, Nostrand, and in New Jersey. What’s that one thing? Like whats that one voice? Whats the voice you would start with?’ And then he sent me in the booth and I was just (singing) like, ‘Yo Mona Lisa can I get a date on Friday…’ That’s when I would say the Fugees found their voice.

On The Score:

The Score was when I took charge of the whole production. Nobody told me what to do, like ain’t nobody at no label gonna know about Enya. They not sitting watching SleepWalkers smoking weed. [So just] the basement, you know what I’m saying, not a lot of equipment. The Score was basically, we had an old MCI board. All of the automations that you hear on The Score was me by hand. The Fender Rhodes that you hear on ‘Killing Me Softly’ is not even a Fender Rhodes, it’s an Akai S-900. I was so sonically crazy, scientifically, I tuned a tone on the S-900 and made it sound like a Fender Rhodes and put a delay on it. That’s why till this day if any musician tries to play ‘Killing Me Softly,’ you cant unless you detune your instrument. Jerry Wonder was on the bass and the keys are all me. We started off with ‘Fu Gee La,’ which was one of Salaam’s records, and the label felt real comfortable with that because he had did ‘Nappy Heads.’ And then it was followed by a track that I did which was ‘Ready Or Not.’ That whole Enya shit, that just took it to across the waters and everything else just followed.”

On record label A&Rs:

“I don’t know what an A&R is, man. I don’t have a clue man, like what do they do? In my world? Like, what chord are they gonna tell me to play? What arrangement? I broke a lot of chart records. I mean, till today I’m still breaking radio airplay records, so I don’t know what an A&R dude’s gonna tell me.”

On working with TI:

“I like TI cause he’s not on no bullshit like, ‘Let’s do brunch.’ These motherfuckers in the industry be on some bullshit, ‘Yo, lets do brunch.’ And then they cater to what’s hot for the time. So a kid like TI is ill because he knows what I do. Like he’s not caught in the hype. Like he know if I could get this dude that’s the dude that did the Fugee shit, but if he could zone out he probably gonna give me some ‘Ready Or Not’ shit or some early Canibus shit. Or some Cypress Hill shit, when he checked the history.”

On the internet:

“I think really with the internet, that’s the A&R. So if you want to know who I think the real A&R’s of today are, [it’s] the kids that are on the internet. I’ll give you an example. Take a Wyclef Jean song ‘If I was President.’ Every kid knows that song. It’s not like the song got any radio airplay, they seen that shit on Dave Chappelle, [and downloaded] it. Now over twenty million kids know that song. If you go on the internet its up there with ‘Gone Til November.’ Then you gotta be like, ‘Hmm, interesting.’ But Clef ain’t really never get no airplay for this song. How can that be? Now, honestly bro, an A&R would skip right through that song because that song wouldn’t be a song that’s played on the radio, you know what I’m saying? But we cant run away from the new wave that we’re expressing. So I feel like back in the days we had those underground systems where we heard new records, so today the internet actually is that world where you can put anything on and then the crowd could decide. With Youtube and with Myspace, now you’re able to connect quicker. And so you start off with your Myspace page, you know, you can go ok, all of the people are listening… send out a blog now. ‘Yo what up, I’m working in the studio on The Carnival 2. I’m about to hit ya’ll with this crazy Paul Simon/Wyclef record, some of you motherfuckers is too young to know who Paul Simon is. You other motherfuckers know whats going on, that shit got that acoustic flavor so check it out. Give forty seconds of it. Now you know that the bloggers is gonna go crazy. They gonna find it. And I think that’s like the coolest shit. And at the end of the day its going to turn to revenue. Whether through record sales, whether through live shows, whether through endorsements.”

Check back tomorrow for Part 2!

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