Lauryn Hill might be making her return to music, but the likelihood of a Fugees reunion still appears shaky. Last Friday (September 3) during Hot 97’s On Da Reggae Tip concert at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, Wyclef Jean took to the stage and fired a lyrical shot at former bandmate Pras and other naysayers.
As previously reported, Wyclef’s bid for the Haitian presidency was denied due to the fact he did not meet the five year residency requirement. Prior to that decision, actor/philanthropist Sean Penn spoke out in various media outlets, questioning ’Clef’s intentions as being solely about “flying around the world.”
Likewise, former Fugee Praswell Mitchell raised similar concerns. “[Wyclef] talks about health care, he talks about education, he talks about infrastructure,” he said in an interview with MTV News. “But how are you gonna get to that point? There’s a short-term goal that needs to be addressed and there’s a long-term goal. To be honest with you, the short term is probably more important than the long term. And he didn’t even mention the short term.”
’Clef took his time on stage to address the criticism. With guitar in hand, he began playing the melody for his 2004 track, “If I Was President,” before remixing the lyrics to sing, “If I was president… I got a message for Sean Penn, maybe he ain’t see me in Haiti because he was too busy sniffing cocaine… I got a message for Praswell, even though you don’t want to support me, I got love for you, even though you only kicked eight bars in the Fugees…”
Before the weekend was out, representatives from Penn’s camp released a statement refuting the allegations. “Mr. Jean is clearly unfamiliar with the physical demands put upon volunteers in Haiti,” the statement read. “As aid workers there, the notion of depleting the body’s immune system through the use of illicit drugs is ludicrous… That Mr. Jean would make such a false accusation is reckless and saddening, but not surprising.”
At press time, Pras had yet to offer a reply. —Anslem Samuel