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Jean, Wyclef 1970–

Wyclef Jean 1970

Rapper, guitarist

Learned More than 15 Instruments

Group Changed Name to Fugees

Incorporated Guitar into Hip-Hop

Selected discography

Sources

Rapper, producer, and guitarist Wyclef Jean, after ascending to hip-hop stardom as one third of the wildly successful and artistically ambitious group the Fugees, emerged as a major solo artist with his 1997 debut release entitled The Carnival Tapping into rap musics deep traditions of omnivorous musical mixture and of Caribbean American fusion, Jean carried them forward in new and exciting ways. Critically well received and a hero on the streets both in the United States and in his native Haiti, he was one of hip-hop musics brightest lights at the end of the 1990s. In the words of Time magazine critic Christopher John Farley, The Carnival puts Wyclef up there with Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor, and Tricky as one of the most creative people working in pop music.

Jean was born Nel Wyclef Jean (his songwriting credits still list him as N. Jean) in Haiti around 1970. In any event, when Jean was nine, his family left Haiti for the United States, landing in Brooklyns tough Marlboro housing project, not far from Coney Island. When I got to America, Jean told Ebony, I was expecting to see money falling from the sky. Brooklyn fell short of these expectations, but offered the Jean family opportunities that were nearly unthinkable in their poverty-stricken homeland. Wyclef, who spoke the Haitian Creole dialect of French, knew no English at all, but learned quickly from the rap music that was beginning to flourish on New Yorks radio stations.

Learned More than 15 Instruments

Wyclefs father was a Nazarene preacher, and several years after coming to Brooklyn the family moved to Newark, New Jersey so that Gesner Jean could assume a post at the citys Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene. Wyclefs mother, noting her sons refusal to follow in his fathers footsteps, had already given him a guitar with the intention of diverting his interest from their neighbor-hoods rampant gang activity. The first song he learned to play, he told Guitar Player, was Steve Martins King Tut. At Newarks Vailsburg High School, Jean flourished, majoring in jazz, learning to play more than 15 instruments, and gaining a grounding in the fundamentals of the music business. Hungry for expensive studio time, he earned money by working at McDonalds. Some rappers would hesitate to admit to such employment, preferring to project a gangster image, but as

At a Glance

Born Nel Wyclef Jean around 1970 in Haiti, son of a Nazarene preacher, Gesner Jean. Family moved to Brooklyn, New York, when Wyclef was nine years old; moved to Newark, New Jersey, early 1980s. Married Claudenette. Education; Vailsburg High School, Newark. Religion; raised Nazarene.

Career: Rapper, guitarist, succesful recording artist, producer, 1993-. With Prakazrel Pras Michel and Lauryn Hill, formed group Tranzlator Crew, early 1990s; group changed name to Fugees, 1993; with the Fugees recorded Blunted on Reality, 1993 and multiplatinum The Score, 1996; released solo album The Carnival, 1997; achieved multiplatinum sales levels.

Awards: Nominated for two Grammy awards, including Best Rap Album, for The Carnival, 1998.

Addresses: Record companyRuff House/Columbia Records, 51 W. 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019.

Jean put it to Ebonys Melissa Ewey, Anybody that did that [deal drugs], I dont know if theyre still around. I had a vision, and nobody was going to mess that up.

Jean hooked up with his cousin Prakazrel Pras Michelwho also lived in northern New Jerseyand with their friend Lauryn Hill, they began to create and perform hip-hop music. Jean, who had already been honored for his compositional skills at a national choir festival, encountered opposition from his fatheras far as he was concerned, if it didnt talk about God, it was devil music, Jean told Ebony but the trio made distinctive music and was noticed in Newark almost from the start. They formed a group called the Tranzlator Crew (an earlier incarnation had been notable for its collective ability to rap in six different languages), and by 1993 had been signed to the Ruff House/Columbia label and began bringing together music for an album.

Group Changed Name to Fugees

After encountering legal trouble from an alternative-rock group called Translator, Jean, Michel, and Hill changed the name of their group to the Fugees, a shortened version of the word refugees. Their debut album, 1993s Blunted on Reality, enjoyed mixed critical reviews and moderate sales, but it was the Fugees second release, The Score, that catapulted them to the top ranks of popular music in 1996. The album sold over four million copies in the United States and at least 15 million worldwide; it sold well in Jeans native Haiti, in France, where Jeans French-language skills have made him extraordinarily popular, and in Caribbean and African countries where rap had earlier made few inroads. Jean and his fellow Fugees also did a benefit concerts in Haiti and Miami to help Haitian refugees. Musically, the album was stamped by Jeans adventuresome and eclectic tastes: it featured samples of Caribbean music, rock, and black pop, among other styles, and became best known for its hip-hop remake of Roberta Flacks 1970s hit Killing Me Softly.

The Fugees remained together and planned future releases as a group as of the end of 1998, but each member also embarked on individual projects. Jean planned a modest album of music in the Creole language to capitalize on his popularity in Francophone countries, but his creativity stretched the boundaries of the project, and the album, The Carnival (full title Wyclef Jean presents The Carnival featuring Refugee Allstars), ended up as a full-fledged solo release. Several of the Creole tracks survived and appeared on the album, which featured a spectacular mixture of styles and elements. Although he was joined by his Fugees band-mates, Jean was the primary creative force behind The Carnival, producing the album and composing most of its tracks.

The sampling and incorporation of other styles of music is integral to hip-hop, but The Carnival used such techniques with unusual imagination and variety. Guest artists on the album included Puerto Rican salsa queen Celia Cruz (on a humorous, subtle recasting of the 1960s hit Guantanamera), New Orleans soul stars, the Neville Brothers, the reggae group I Threes, and members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. One of the albums hit singles, We Trying To Stay Alive, took the Bee Gees disco hit Staying Alive as a point of departure, taking it through a complex yet infectious series of musical and poetic twists and turns. The recording harked back to rap musics earliest days, when DJs would improvise rhymes over disco records in New York nightclubs. Yet it also showcased the musics new virtuosity. Jeans creativity was rewarded with two Grammy award nominations in 1998, and the album took only a few months to reach the one-million sales mark.

Incorporated Guitar into Hip-Hop

Many of the albums sales were made to fans of rock music attracted by the sound of Jeans guitar playing. The guitar has been an uncommon instrument in hip-hop music, and its incorporation into a raw hip-hop sound is one mark of Jeans uncommon mastery of stylistic mixture. Wyclefs strengths like in his ability not just to deftly cop the feels of calypso, reggae and rock, but to layer those styles and tones in the studio, Guitar Player noted admiringly. On several of The Carnivals songs, complex raps surround a quoted melody in long notes, with Jean adding a rhythmic groove or humorous percussive notes on guitar.

At the end of the 1990s Jean seemed to have the talent, training, and imagination to become a major lasting force in hip-hop music. The only artists who are going to last the next five to 10 years are those people doing original music, he told Billboard Ive got a 50-year plan for this business. Already much in demand as a producer from high-profile artists such as Tevin Campbell, Gloria Estefan, and rapper Canibus, Jean was slated to star as the son of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff in a sequel to the 1970s film The Harder They Come Fans of many musical stripes await future releases of his own.

Selected discography

Blunted on Reality, (with the Fugees), Ruff House/Columbia, 1993.

The Score (with the Fugees), Ruff House/Columbia, 1996.

The Carnival Ruff House/Columbia, 1997.

Sources

Billboard, June 14, 1997, p. 1; March 21, 1998, p. 35.

Ebony, May 1998, p. 120.

Entertainment Weekly, December 26, 1997, p. 61; June 26, 1998, p. 56.

Guitar Player, January 1998, p. 35.

New York Times, October 27, 1997, p. B5.

People, July 7, 1997, p. 26.

Time, July 28, 1997, p. 74; August 24, 1998, p. 91.

Vibe, August 1998.

Washington Post, September 30, 1998, p. D5.

James M. Manheim

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Jean, Wyclef

Wyclef Jean

Guitarist

For the Record

Star-Studded Debut Solo

Selected discography

Sources

Multi-talented hip-hop guitarist Nel Wyclef Jean, one third of the renowned band The Fugees, released a platinum-selling solo debut album titled The Carnival in 1998 to positiveand often gushingreviews. Jean drew upon Creole folk music, Afro-Cuban, reggae, rhythm and blues, funk, and rap music to forge the refreshing brand of hip-hop found on his solo debut release, a variety of musical styles, also evident in the music of The Fugees. In addition to artfully fusing a myriad of musical styles, Jean is one of the few hip-hop artists to play the guitar and still be accepted as a rapper by hardcore hip-hop fans. In this respect, he melded together an appreciative alternative music fan base with his hip-hop and rap fans and achieved a rare feat. People magazines Amy Linden wrote, Filled with humor, smarts and a true sense of playfulness, The Carnival is what hip hop should be all about. Time magazines Christopher John Farley wrote, The Carnival puts Wyclef up there with Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor and Tricky as one of the most creative people working in pop music.

Jean was born in Haiti in 1971 and moved to Brooklyn near Coney Island in New York City with his parents at the age of nine, before eventually moving to Newark, New Jersey in high school. His father, Gesner Jean, was pastor of Newarks Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene and fought to keep his four sons and a daughter off the streets through prayer. Jean studied at Newarks Vailsburg High School, learning as much as he could about music and the music business. Prakazrel Pras Michel of the Fugees, his cousin, lived in South Orange, NJ, and Jean began experimenting with hip-hop along with Michel and Lauryn Hill of The Fugees while still in high school. Michel and Jean both have fathers who are deeply involved in their religious communities; Jean told Rolling Stones David Sprague, When Id come back from the studio, Id get a whipping from my dad, cause I was playing devils music. When Jean was still underage, a recording contract fell through because his father refused to condone it.

In 1988 the Vailsburg High School Swing choir included Jean on bass and his cousin Pras on vocals; they sang for the Young Americans National Invitational Performance Choir Festival in Hollywood, CA. The choir won an award for costumes and Jean was honored for an original composition. Jean would write songs on the choirs bus from one event to another. Back in Newark, they formed a rap group called Exact Change, which was distinguished by the fact that they wore tuxedoes, rapped in six languages, and had a positive message. Then the two Haitian cousins and Lauryn Hill began rapping together under the name Tranzlator Crew, and by 1993 they were signed to Ruff House/Columbia Records and working on their first full- length release.

For the Record

Born Nel Wyclef Jean in Haiti in 1971; one of four sons and daughter born to Gesner Jean a pastor at Newarks Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene and his wife; moved to Brooklyn near Coney Island in New York City with his parents at the age of nine.

Formed high school bands with Fuggees member Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel Pras Michel; the trio began rapping together as Tranzlator Crew and signed with Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1993; released Blunted on Reality as The Fugees, 1993; released The Score, 1996; released solo debut The Carnival, 1997.

Address: Record company Ruff House/Columbia Records, 51 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019; (212) 833-4321

Star-Studded Debut Solo

The group changed their name due to a legal objection by a new-wave group named Translator, and chose The Fugees as a shortened version of refugeessince they sought refuge in their music. Their first release, Blunted on Reality, was released to positive review, in late 1993. After producing their second release, The Score, in their own studio in East Orange, New Jersey, free of the constricting terms of their original production contract, the group saw their sophomore effort attain instant success. The Score was more focused and strident, and drew from the bands myriad musical influenceseverything from Caribbean music to Roberta Flack and early 80s new wave music like Tears for Fears and the Pet Shop Boys. The Score topped the chart for weeks, sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, and was followed by an extensive tour that ended in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Scores Killing Me Softly, a remake of Roberta Flacks early 1970s single, graced the R&B singles chart for seven months and the pop chart for six months. When the Fugees returned to the groups native homel and for a concert at the Bicentenaire in Port-au-Prince, an estimated 80,000 jubilant fans greeted them.

While The Fugees were touring, Jean continued recording; he initially intended to release asolo album of songs in Creole, but he expanded his reach. He also did remixes for Cypress Hill, Sublime, Simply Red, Whitney Houston, TLC, Michael Jackson, and Bounty Killer while the band was on the road. The prolific Jean was the primary writer, producer, and performer on The Carnival, but he enlisted an impressive array of international talent for his debut solo release. Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel assisted his effort, as did the Latin supernova salsa singer Celia Cruz on Guantanamera, the New Orleans-based Neville Brothers on Mona Lisa, members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jean on Gone Til November, and reggaes I Threes on Gunpowder. Pablo Diablo was featured on Crazy Sam and Talent. Yele features the Creole folk music of Jeans homeland, Haiti, as does Sang Fezi, Jaspo-ra, and the calypso-infused Carnival. The French-Creole songs on The Carnival topped the charts in Haiti. Jean is also slated to star as Jimmy Cliffs son in a sequel to the film The Harder They Come.

Jean told Now magazines Matt Galloway, I represent the Caribbean to the fullest on this record lve always had a Caribbean vibe to my music (but) the foundation is still hip-hop. Carnival s a big charade where anything can happen. That basically translates into the streets of New York City and what goes on every day. Its not everyday rap music. Jean pointed out in an interview with Michael Roberts of the Phoenix New-times that older groups like Earth, Wind, & Fire and Kool and the Gang were comprised of musicians who could really sing and play music, and its this adherence to genuine talent and depth that sets Jean and the Fugees apart from the rap and hip-hop fray. Roberts wrote, Unlike a lot of their contemporaries, The Fugees arent a gimmick. Theres substance in their grooves. Jersey Online interviewed Wayne Slappy, Jeans high school music teacher; now a screenwriter, said of Jean, Whatever planet he stopped at, he would just take over. Thats part of his genius. I guess in his own way, hes the Michael Jordan of rap.

Selected discography

Blunted on Reality (with the Fugees), Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1993.

The Score (with the Fugees), Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1996.

The Carnival, Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1997.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, June 14, 1997.

Ebony, November 1996.

Entertainment Weekly, December 26, 1997.

Guitar Player, January 1998.

Harpers Bazaar, June 1996.

Interview, May 1996.

Newsweek, October 6, 1997.

People, July 7, 1997.

Rolling Stone, September 5, 1996.

Time, July 28, 1997.

Us, August 1996.

Online

http://www.nj.com/spotlight/wyclef/

http://www.now.com/issues/16/48/Ent/feature.html

http://www.ubl.com/cards/017/0/88.html

B. Kimberly Taylor

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Jean, Wyclef

Wyclef Jean

Rap musician, guitarist

Multi-talented hip-hop guitarist Nel Wyclef Jean, one-third of the renowned band The Fugees, released a platinum-selling solo debut album titled The Carnival in 1998 to positive and often gushing reviews. Jean drew upon Creole folk music, Afro-Cuban, reggae, rhythm and blues, funk, and rap music to forge a refreshing brand of hip-hop, and this variety of musical styles was also evident in the music of The Fugees. In addition to artfully fusing a myriad of musical styles, Jean is one of the few hip-hop artists to play the guitar and still be accepted as a rapper by hardcore hip-hop fans. In this respect, he combined an appreciative alternative music fan base with his hip-hop and rap fans and achieved a rare feat. Time magazine's Christopher John Farley wrote, "The Carnival puts Wyclef up there with Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor and Tricky as one of the most creative people working in pop music."

Jean was born in Haiti in 1971, and moved to Brooklyn near Coney Island in New York City with his parents at the age of nine, before eventually moving to Newark, New Jersey, to attend high school. His father, Gesner Jean, was pastor of Newark's Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene. Jean studied at Newark's Vailsburg High School, learning as much as he could about music and the music business. His cousin, Prakazrel 'Pras' Michel of the Fugees, lived in South Orange, New Jersey, and Jean began experimenting with hip-hop along with Michel and Lauryn Hill of The Fugees while still in high school. Jean told Rolling Stone's David Sprague, "When I'd come back from the studio, I'd get a whipping from my dad, 'cause I was playing devil's music." While Jean was still underage, a recording contract fell through because his father refused to condone it.

In 1988 the Vailsburg High School Swing Choir included Jean on bass and Michel on vocals; they sang for the Young Americans National Invitational Performance Choir Festival in Hollywood, where the choir won an award for costumes and Jean was honored for an original composition. Jean wrote songs on the choir's bus while traveling from one event to the next. Back in Newark, Jean and Michel formed a rap group called Exact Change, which was distinguished by the fact that they wore tuxedoes, rapped in six languages, and had a positive message. Then the two Haitian cousins and Lauryn Hill began rapping together under the name Tranzlator Crew, and by 1993 they were signed to Ruff House/Columbia Records and working on their first full-length release.

The group changed their name due to a legal objection by a new wave group named Translator, and chose The Fugees as a shortened version of refugees—since they sought refuge in their music. Their first release, Blunted on Reality, was released to positive reviews in late 1993. After producing their second release, The Score, in their own studio in East Orange, free of the constricting terms of their original production contract, the group saw their sophomore effort attain instant success. The Score was more focused and strident, and drew from the band's myriad musical influences—everything from Caribbean music to Roberta Flack, and early 1980s new wave musicians like Tears for Fears and the Pet Shop Boys. The Score topped the charts for weeks, sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, and was followed by an extensive tour that ended in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Score's "Killing Me Softly," a remake of Roberta Flack's early 1970s single, graced the R&B singles chart for seven months and the pop chart for six months. When the Fugees returned to the group's native homeland for a concert at the Bicentenaire in Port-au-Prince, an estimated 80,000 jubilant fans greeted them.

While The Fugees were touring, Jean continued recording; he initially intended to release a solo album of songs in Creole, but he expanded his reach. He also did remixes for Cypress Hill, Sublime, Simply Red, Whitney Houston, TLC, Michael Jackson, and Bounty Killer while the band was on the road. The prolific Jean was the primary writer, producer, and performer on The Carnival, but he enlisted an impressive array of international talent for his debut solo release. Lauryn Hill and Michel assisted his effort, as did the Latin supernova salsa singer Celia Cruz on "Guantanamera," the New Orleans-based Neville Brothers on "Mona Lisa," members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jean, on "Gone 'Til November," and reggae's I Threes on "Gunpowder." Pablo Diablo was featured on "Crazy Sam" and "Talent." "Yele" featured the Creole folk music of Jean's Haitian homeland, as did "Sang Fezi," "Jaspora," and the calypso-infused "Carnival." The French-Creole songs on The Carnival topped the charts in Haiti.

Jean's father died in an accident in September of 2001. In that same year his wife, Marie Claudinette, lost her mother and an uncle. Jean told Steve Dougherty and Mark Dagostino in People, "We went through a death spell, losing three people back-to-back. Then, after a year of mourning, I finally understood. To conquer death, you have to celebrate life."

In 2002 Jean released Masquerade. He followed this with Greatest Hits and The Preacher's Son in 2003.

In 2005 he branched out into acting. He appeared in four episodes of NBC's "Third Watch" and appeared in two independent films, One Last Thing and Dirty. He also signed a deal with HBO to produce and star in a comedy series based loosely on his own life. Jean told People, "I love performing. It's time for that right now—to celebrate life and give people hope."

Selected discography

(With the Fugees) Blunted on Reality, Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1993.
(With the Fugees) The Score, Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1996.
Presents The Carnival, Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1997.
Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book, Columbia Records, 2000.
Masquerade, Ruff House/Columbia Records, 2002.
Greatest Hits, Ruff House/Columbia Records, 2003.
The Preacher's Son J-Records, 2003.
Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101, Koch, 2004.

For the Record …

Born Nel Wyclef Jean in Haiti in 1971; one of four sons and a daughter born to Gesner Jean, a pastor at Newark's Good Shepherd Church of the Nazarene and his wife; moved to Brooklyn near Coney Island in New York City with his parents at the age of nine; married Marie Claudinette (a fashion designer), 1994.

Formed high school bands with Fugees' member Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel "Pras" Michel; the trio began rapping together as Tranzlator Crew and signed with Ruff House/Columbia Records, 1993; released Blunted on Reality as The Fugees, 1993; released The Score, 1996; released solo debut The Carnival, 1997; released Masquerade, 2002; released Greatest Hits, 2003; released The Preacher's Son, 2003.

Addresses: Record company—KOCH Entertainment. 22 Harbor Park Dr. Port Washington, NY 11050, phone: (516) 484-1000. Website—official: www.wyclef.com.

Sources

Periodicals

Billboard, June 14, 1997.

Ebony, November 1996.

Entertainment Weekly, December 26, 1997.

Guitar Player, January 1998.

Harper's Bazaar, June 1996.

Interview, May 1996.

Newsweek, October 6, 1997.

People, July 7, 1997.

Rolling Stone, September 5, 1996.

Time, July 28, 1997.

Us, August 1996.

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Jean, Wyclef

WYCLEF JEAN

Born: Nelust Wyclef Jean; Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, 17 October 1972

Genre: R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: Masquerade (2002)

Hit songs since 1990: "Gone Till November," "We Trying to Stay Alive," "Two Wrongs"


As a driving member of the group the Fugees, Wyclef Jean established a reputation in the 1990s as one of the most distinctive, visionary talents in hip-hop, rap, and R&B. Following the success of the Fugees's groundbreaking 1996 album, The Score, Jean was the first group member to pursue a solo career, releasing three ambitious albums that fused hip-hop rhythms with reggae, Latin music, pop, and even country. Within the tough world of rap and hip-hop, Jean's music is notable for its humanitarian core. His lyrics often advocate social responsibility and rail against social injustice. Critics note that, while never particularly impressive as a rapper or singer, Jean succeeds in orchestrating a rich palette of sound, pulling together disparate musical influences to create cohesive and satisfying works.

The son of a minister, Jean was born in Haiti and moved with his family to Brooklyn, New York, at the age of nine. Later settling in New Jersey, Jean began studying jazz and guitar during his high school years. In 1987 he joined a rap group with his cousin Prakazrel Michel (Pras) and his classmate Lauryn Hill. First calling themselves the Tranzlator Crew and then the Fugees (a term used to describe Haitian refugees), the group in 1994 released a hardcore rap album that attracted little attention. But the group's second album, The Score (1996), was immediately recognized by critics and fans as a classic. Combining hip-hop beats with social commentary on songs such as "The Beast," which attacks racial profiling among police, The Score inaugurated a new, "alternative" style of hip-hop. The success of the album, which also features the pop hit "Killing Me Softly with His Song," allowed Jean and Hill to work on solo albums while remaining part of the Fugees.

In its broad survey of musical styles, Jean's solo debut, Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee Allstars (1997), was more adventurous than his earlier work with the Fugees. An uncompromising attempt to break down musical barriers, the album scored a hit with its first single, "We Trying to Stay Alive." Sampling the disco rhythms of "Stayin' Alive," the Bee Gees 1978 hit, the song gains power through its incorporation of a tough, driving hip-hop beat. Moving across the stylistic spectrum, "Gone Till November," recorded with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, is richly orchestrated with soaring strings, while "Mona Lisa," performed with legendary R&B group the Neville Brothers, sports the complex, delayed rhythms of New Orleansstyle funk. Jean's commitment to social issues is evident in the antiviolence message of "Gunpowder," which recalls the spirit of reggae legend Bob Marley through the use of Marley's former backing group, the I-Threes. "Jaspora" and "Yele," both performed in Creole, speak to Jean's Haitian roots and became hits in his native country. Despite its eclectic range of influences, Carnival achieves a sense of unity through Jean's clear-headed artistic vision.

With the Fugees remaining separated because of internal divisions, Jean released a second solo album, The Ecleftic, in 2000. The album pushes its predecessor's stylistic boundaries even further. It features guest appearances from the wrestling star the Rock and the country artist Kenny Rogers. The album expresses Jean's commitment to social equality. "Diallo," for example, is a stirring eulogy for Amadou Diallo, the unarmed West African immigrant who was shot by police forty-one times outside his apartment in the Bronx, New York, in 1999: "You guys are vampires / In the middle of the night / Sucking on human blood / Is that your appetite?" Jean's third solo album, Masquerade, appeared in 2002. This time, however, critics felt that the album's guest appearances, including those from the 1960s pop stars Tom Jones and Frankie Valli, sounded random and unnecessary. Still, Jean captures his familiar excitement on the hit "Two Wrongs," a sweet-tempered track featuring a gentle rhythm and the warm vocals of R&B singer Claudette Ortiz.

Following the crossover pop success of the Fugees in the late 1990s, Wyclef Jean began a career as a challenging solo artist, releasing albums that confounded expectations of musical genre and style. Repudiating the violence that characterizes much contemporary hip-hop, Jean has created highly personal work with a life-affirming message.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee Allstars (Columbia, 1997); The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book (Columbia, 2000); Masquerade (Columbia, 2002). With the Fugees: Blunted on Reality (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1994); The Score (Ruffhouse/Columbia, 1996).

WEBSITE:

www.wyclef.com.

david freeland

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