Wyclef Jean Releases New Song “Fela Kuti,” Announces ‘Carnival III’ Album Release Date
Wyclef Jean is headed to the carnival once again. The former Fugees member is preparing to release his forthcoming album, Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee, and his promo kicks into high gear today (June 22) with the release of his new single "Fela Kuti," premiered exclusively by XXL.
Produced by Supah Mario, this dance-inducing banger drops just in time for summer solstice and is the lead single off Carnival III, dropping Sept. 15 via Legacy Records. Like the title implies, "Fela Kuti," is an ode to not only good times, but to the influential Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, a staple of 1970s Afrobeat and jazz music.
"I decided to name it Fela Kuti because for me, I feel like we be thinking of [Bob] Marley, we give a lot of people from our past props, so when the kids hear Fela Kuti, I really want them to Google it," Jean tells XXL. "Fela Kuti studied jazz in England. Wyclef studied jazz at Vailsburg High School. Fela Kuti then went back to his country and tried to help his country by running for president. Wyclef, you know, did the same thing. Then, Fela, through all his obstacles and all that, his music is what pillared him right back to the top. He understood the strongest way to help politically was to make sure the music was bangin.’ So for me, the same way kids can have songs called “Wyclef Jean” who are influenced by me, I want kids to know who Fela is and what he means."
"I was like, ‘Yo, who got my frequency?’" says ’Clef, who thought the producer had that young Wyclef frequency. "So me and Supah Mario been trying to get together for a session together and this was that session. This is what happens when you put two generations together that inspire each other."
This new dose of music is a follow-up to Wyclef's last EP, The J'ouvert. Back in early spring, the muisc star spoke to XXL about getting back in the studio and his upcoming collabs on the Carnival III LP. ’Clef cites rappers like Joey Bada$$ and Pusha T as collaborators on upcoming music. But fans will have to wait and see which of these collabos come to light.
For now, listen to "Fela Kuti" below and pre-order Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee here.
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