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: Do you understand Dave Chapelle’s disappearance from show business?
Wyclef Jean: I mean, you know, I could definitely relate to Dave Chappelle. I mean, I basically -- I think I left the music industry for, like, three years. A lot of people was like, what Wyclef’s doing, and it basically looked like I was out of the scene. But I went back to Haiti, started doing charity work, clearing my mind. Because sometime the industry can be -- it’s a lot of pressure because, you know, they expect you to produce. And every time you get a good one, they expect another one, then another one, then another, one; and sometimes, now you start to get tired because you’re, like, just trying to appease people opposed to, you know, just concentrating on your art.