by Umar Hassan
Wyclef Jean was the most prominent member of the Fugees group that revolutionized hip hop in the 90’s before they broke up. They were arguably the first to quote the legendary Krs-one; who “bit the game to go pop”. They had a never-before-seen extra edge to their game and broke down just about every barrier with their dexterity. They rapped different from the norm with some good singing while at it and infused far-fetched elements like soul and reggae into their styles whenever they felt like.
That in a nutshell is what Wyclef is as an artiste. He is just so different at doing the same thing everyone does. The Preacher’s son cannot be confined to a genre. Wyclef is soul, R&B, pop and reggae just as much as he is hip hop.
The J’ouvert EP released on February 3 2017 was his first project since 2010 and it came with a rider that he was working on a full length album. J’ouvert had I Swear feat Young thug as its stand out track. He had earlier on blessed Thugga’s banging cut, Pop Man off his No, My Name Is Jeffrey album in amazing fashion. The sum total of the sudden Wyclef resurgence was—whatever he had cooking was worth waiting to get a taste of.
The Carnival 3 album is here. Let’s ride along.
- SLUMS feat Jazzy Amra H1dahook and Marx Solvia
He opens with a song that assures you its same ‘ol Clef. He raps decently and adds a good dose of singing which Jazzy Amra complements superbly. He gets everything right except the singing on the chorus.There are times hoarse just won’t work and in this case it robs the hook of robustness.
2. TURN ME GOOD
This song reminds of Wyclef Jean’s classic, 911 featuring Mary J. Blige. It’s a soothing love ballad that sees Clef weave through a slow instrumental with some excellent story-telling. Whenever the lady pops up with her supplementary vocals at the bridge, she drives you into thinking how fabulous it would have been if he had taken her along for the chorus. Or even allowed her do the walk alone. It would have been a legit 2017 version of 911.Regardless though, this is a great song.
3. BORROWED TIME
An inspirational song powered by some wonderful singing. From the beat, the rhythm, down to the rap verse, everything combines seamlessly to work for the powerful message he delivers. This is a flawless cut that will go down as one of the best songs of the album.
4. FELA KUTI
This song is named after the legendary King of Afro-beat and it’s probably the best Fela sample I have ever heard. It actually sounds more rock ‘n’ roll than afro-beat. He gets the tempo just right and it Is amazing how he uses the Fela pieces to brilliant use. He raps with a carribean sun feel to Fela’s trumpet, sings beautifully on the hook and traps it all up for a Fela “O pati piti bole Orile” knock out. Fabulous piece of work.
5. WARRIOR feat T-Baby
A slow and breezy reggae cut like only a genius would. It’s so well composed, the single line “You are a warrior” chorus never turns stale. If anything, its the perfect sauce.
6. SHOTTA BOYS feat STIX
If you manage to stick through the almost one minute phone call intro (which should have been a skit before the track), he references his Shottas movie role in a braggadocious display of street cred. His guest STIX drops some really insane bars on it-“Compare me to my whip coz if you push,I start/No Whitney Houston here don’t need no body guard/Dat poker face don’t help,don’t make me pull your card”.
A great song no doubt.
7. DOUBLE DUTCH feat DL Hughley
Well, we all expected Clef to talk about police violence and he did. He has being doing that way before it became fashionable and this here falls into the ‘oppressed thug’ category. He gets on that laid-back rap we’ve all loved since his Fugees days and keeps it simple yet exquisite with the waltz through rhythms. It’s deftest at the bridge through the hook when he steps things up a notch. The Preacher’s son preaching the ghetto gospel in some style.
8. CARRY ON feat EMELI SANDE
I would describe this song in one word as classic. The inspirational theme rubs off on you as soon as it comes on. Clef delivers his best vocal performance of this project on this song and Emeli Sande’s singing was heart-stopping. Watch out for Emeli Sande. Great talent.
9. WHAT HAPPENED TO LOVE feat LUNCH MONEY LEWIS AND THE KNOCKS
A groovy tune that kicks in a euphoric love vibe. Love is joy, love is high spirits and love is over the moon. Very masterfully made. Reminds you of the very natural feel-good songs rarely made anymore.
10. CONCRETE ROSE feat Hannah Eggen and Izolan
The flawless streak finally comes to an end. Wyclef drops some tight bars along the way and Izolan’s french lines sound great but the chorus is a huge let off. He looks to be biting the rhythm to Rozay’s BMF hook at the start and ends up with a tasteless ‘World is Yours’ chant. He is human, after all.
11. TRAPICABANA feat Riley
Clef chefs an infectious tune with some Latino spice. Again, the composition is superb. The delivery on the verses, the catchy hook and the little Spanish bridge all sync impressively to keep you breathless from start to finish. A maestro at work.
12. THANK GOD FOR THE CULTURE feat Marx Solvila,J’Mila and Leon Lacey
A sublime tribute to the hip hop culture. It comes complete with not only how hip hop has impacted his life but also with shout outs to the notable names that have shaped the game over the years-Jay Z, Cash Money, Badboy,Lil Wayne et al. The instrumentation is quite impressive. Great song.
Wyclef Jean made a fabulous album.You gotta hand that to him.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano. He [email protected]
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