Written By: Brandon Basile
Legends Still Learn
Originality: (5 / 5) Vocals/Flow: (4 / 5) Lyrics: (5 / 5) Production: (5 / 5) Average: (4.8 / 5)
“You don’t wanna flex. Keep your muscle in your shirt boy. You don’t wanna flex”
Not many artists have lead a legacy as extensive as the Fugees’ originator, Wyclef Jean. With the massive commercial and critical success of the Fugees’ debut and only collective album, The Score, Wyclef could have easily stepped away from the limelight, similarly to his other (Re)Fugee bandmates *cough cough* *pointing elbows at Pras and Lauryn Hill*, but Wyclef Jean continued to have successes on the charts through the 90s and early 2000s with his protege artists, bands and his own albums and singles such as the Claudette Ortiz featured “Two Wrongs” and the emotional “911” which featured R&B legend Mary J. Blige. The Fugees’ timeless rebel anthems, and Wyclef’s own smash hit singles such as “Gone ‘Til November” and “If I Was President”, still get regularly referred and alluded to by Hip-Hop and R&B artists worldwide. Jean even pushed his stardom into a campaign to be elected President of his home country of Haiti, which though he was not elected showed righteous goals for rebellious artists. If there ever was an icon of a successful cultured artist then Wyclef Jean is definitely one of the most favorable stereotypes. Artistic successes have not always translated to massive commercial success, but nonetheless Wyclef has given us his 8th solo album Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee. We know that when you’re on top they all want you to fall off. So what is the state of the refugee rhythm rhyme and Ringmaster?
Still on fucking fire. Fam, don’t get it twisted. Wyclef is still fighting for the righteous cause and still shining. I was looking out for this album after hearing songs like “Hendrix” from the Jouvert EP released earlier this year, but Wyclef definitely has been working on his craft and himself to stay in this thing that we call the music business, and all of the hell and heaven that comes with it. Carnival III is undoubtedly a feel good party to be had between sidewalks, alleyways, and the clubs and anywhere else you can throw a speaker with as diverse as these grooves are. Wyclef uses live instrumentation’s to create blends between acoustic soul and trap music, and succeeds at it, but he still has the heart to take us back to African and Caribbean rhythms with party dance cuts like “Trapicabana” and “Fela Kuti”, inspired by a fellow revolutionary artist of the African heritage.
Jean also takes a moment to empower, inspire, and uplift with “Warrior” and “Thank God for the Culture”, the latter of which mentions a myriad of other successful black artists and groups such as Jay-Z, Cash Money Records, and even Aretha Franklin. On “Double Dutch” he speaks rhythmic on the idea of dual consciousness that black people experience and even his own recent experiences trying to defend the All Lives Matter movement and then finding himself being treated like a black criminal himself. With the feel good tracks “What Happened to Love” and “Shotta Boys” Carnival III is a damn good time to be had, and in different languages. Wyclef for President!
Because hips still don’t lie.