Lead Fugees rapper and sometime guitarist Wyclef Jean was the first member of his group to embark on a solo career, and he proved even more ambitious and eclectic on his own. As the Fugees hung in limbo, Wyclef also became hip-hop's unofficial multicultural conscience; a seemingly omnipresent activist, he assembled or participated in numerous high-profile charity benefit shows for a variety of causes, including aid for his native Haiti.
The utopian one-world sensibility that fueled Wyclef's political consciousness also informed his recordings, which fused hip-hop with as many different styles of music as he could get his hands on (though, given his Caribbean roots, reggae was a particular favorite). In addition to his niche as hip-hop's foremost global citizen, Clef was also a noted producer and remixer who worked with an impressive array of pop, R&B, and hip-hop talent, including Whitney Houston, Santana, and Destiny's Child, among many others.
Question: Are celebrities’ high-rolling lifestyles good for us?
Wyclef Jean: Well, the high-rolling style that’s portrayed on the television is basically a dream, meaning that if you have a dream, it can happen, it could come true. In a way it’s good for kids to see that, but a lot of times I feel like - all right, if you’re telling the high rollers, I think the stories just started from the rags-to-riches. ‘Cause when you do that, then it’s a sense and it makes sense, but the idea of just flossing, you know, hundreds and millions of dollars and then jumping on a plane and then a boat, and then kids really think that, you know, it’s your boat. What I have learned is, let me tell you kids something -- this is what I’ve learned through my years.
The people with the real money don’t do any of that stuff. Nine times out of 10, they’re in a room you won’t even know who they are unless you hear people talking about them. So the thing about it is, when you seeing all this high rolling and you like -- I’m gonna tell you what a tycoon said -- tycoon has billions of dollars. The tycoon said, “Wyclef, you know what’s funny about you guys? You all wanna be us and we wanna be y’all.” And that’s like the best way to <laugh> explain it, you know what I’m saying?