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Wyclef Jean, an icon made in the Caribbean

Born in Haiti, at only 9 years old, he had to come to the US with his family and later went on to join the famous group we know today called the Fugees, with whom he will discover fame with, notably with their famous opus The Score. Unlike other artists, the singer learned how to make his background a strength and not a weakness. With French and Creole often spotted in his songs,  it makes him an ambassador of Caribbean culture in the world’s eyes and this since the beginning of his career.

The Carnaval

When Wyclef leaves the Fugees in 1997, he releases his first album solo called « The Carnival », an obvious reference to the famous carnaval in Haiti. A popular, cultural event in  his home country, usually held in February in the capital and other cities of Haiti. Each year, the carnival is theme based and that is what Wyclef was drawing for in this particular opus. A diversified, joyful project, that remains a demonstration of his belonging to the Haitian culture. For that occasion, he his backed up by Lauryn Hill, while holding her hand and telling her about his enthusiasm for this West Indian festival on« Sang Fézi ».

 The album even finishes by 3 songs in creole !

Yélé, a  powerful song that came from Wyclef’s heart to call out poverty in Haiti and Jaspora , a song that talks about the connection between the Haitian diaspora and it’s roots.

 Finally, the song « Carnival » , that is aptly named, like many other Caribbean musical legends such as  Jacob Desvarieux or Jocelyne Beroard.

French collaborations

The connection that Wyclef has with his mother tongue and home country is something he never wanted to loose. That’s also how he multipied collabs in that particular genre (amongst others), with songs such as « It Doesn’t Matter» with Les Neg’Marrons, but also many other tributes that can be found on the album « Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101 ».

The artist also collaborated with Admiral T on « Fanm Kreyol ».

But also with many other local artists on songs like « Lavi New York » (Featuring Buggah) or« Proud To Be African » (Featuring 2Face, Sound Sultan & Faze), to help give them more notoriety.

Love & History

The need to always put his culture first and not set aside his american culture, is what gives him such power and diversity in his work. In 2002, he produces the song « M.V.P Kompa », that will soon become a hit in Haiti as well other the West Indies all over.

In 2007, Wyclef is facing another problem. The immigration of Haitians in the United States. To speak out, he produces « The Carnival 2 : Memoirs of an immigrant »,  to remind everyone where he is from and all the good that’s come from his immigration into the United States.

 

Two years later, with his new project « From the Hut, to the Projects, to the Mansion », he talks about François-Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture’s story, also known as Toussaint L’Ouverture or Toussaint Bréda, who was the best known leader of the Haitian Revolution.

There’s also his remix of the famous song « Ne Me Quittes pas » by Jacques Brel.

 

Without being the only afro-caribbean (Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Missy Elliott,Pras, Usher, Jackie O), there’s no doubt that he’s the only one putting front and center his love for his Caribbean culture.

Don’t forget to check out his concert during TRACE LIVE on June 13th !


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