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: What do you make of all the celebrities recording albums?
Wyclef Jean: Well, I think whether if it’s Lindsay or Paris, you know, like, people would be like, “Well, why are they doing records?” You know what I mean? I think music is self-expression. Everybody is entitled to express music however they feel and they wanna express it, and I think it’s up to the person to decide what they’re gonna wanna listen to. You understand? You gotta choice -- Wyclef-Lindsay. What do you wanna listen to? You know, you gotta a choice -- Paris-Alicia Keys. What do you wanna listen to? And I think at the end of the day -- you know you can’t knock anyone’s hustle because at the end of the day everyone is just trying to find what works for them best.