As a member of the world famous group The Fugees, and having worked with everyone from Michael Jackson to Carlos Santana. Wyclef Jean is set to release an album in support of Haiti "Sak Pasé Presents: Welcome to Haiti Creole 101" through Koch Records on October 19th.
These are the transcripts of an interview conducted with Wyclef Jean by Hugo Lunny on October 15th, 2004.
MVRemix: Tell me about your most recent trip to Haiti.
Wyclef Jean: I've been back and forth a few times. This one was an important one for me because to understand yourself and understand who you are - it makes things a little different. So I didn't feel I could watch things on CNN and not go out there to really show my support and help people physically. When I went to Gonaives with the floods, there was still water. I saw bodies, the aroma in the air was like the scent of dead bodies in certain parts that I went into. I attracted a crowd of like fifty thousand in the course of like twenty seconds. These people didn't really want anything from me. The only thing they wanted was that the son of the city is here and we have hope. When people was telling me what could they do for Haiti. We need clean water in Gonaives; the water situation is horrible. We need our blankets - there are so many things we need. This is the only thing that I noticed in the eyes of the people. The people think that the rest of the world has forgotten about them and no-one really cares about Haiti. And I was like "If we can provide a sense of hope then you know what, we are here for you guys and we do know there is a place called Haiti," I think that right there would start a movement and you would see a change.
MVRemix: So tell me about your new album as a result of that...
Wyclef Jean: The new album is called "Creole 101," it's sort of like when you have to stop everything and just do something which translates into your people, to them understanding the language and what it's all about. The album is an album of hope and inspiration. I tell these tales of different stories of how it was coming into America and really becoming something. That's what it's about.
MVRemix: What's behind the cover's artwork?
Wyclef Jean: The face of Toussaint L'Ouverture was replaced by my face because Toussaint L'Ouverture died October 17th, and I was born on October 17th. He's one of my heroes.
MVRemix: What's the current situation with your relationships with Jin, Canibus and Dylan (Da Band)?
Wyclef Jean: You know, me and Canibus had the fall-out or whatever. I'm looking for him right now. Jin; that's my man. I'm looking forward to doing some more work with him. I really thought Dylan had a chance when all the controversy was goin' on. But it's just he's hard to work with. [chuckles]
MVRemix: What are your thoughts on Canibus joining the army and such?
Wyclef Jean: He left. He's not in the army no more. He was in London last time.
MVRemix: What about with The Fugees? What's going on there? And how did the Chappelle block party come about?
Wyclef Jean: Chappelle had called us and we all love Dave Chappelle. So we agreed to do the block party to see if it would spark anything with the three of us on stage. Or if it was just something we were doing. It sparked a lot on stage and we're gonna do more shows. And, in the future, we're gonna come with a new Fugee album.
MVRemix: What do you think about the New Jersey Hip Hop scene at the moment? Is anyone catching your ear?
Wyclef Jean: I mean really right now - you can always tell when it's time for some new stuff. I think right now, where we're at, we need some fresh stuff comin' out. They got a lot of people comin' out of Jersey. I think what I just might do in Jersey, 'cause leavin' Brooklyn, that's one of the spots I went to. I'm thinkin' about doing a talent search out there and seeing if we could get some talent.
MVRemix: Recently Nelly made some comments that emcees shouldn't put politics into their raps because it doesn't equate to sales. What's your opinion on that because of the tone of "President" and such...
Wyclef Jean: I think really what makes Hip Hop is the combination of the different styles. The Kool G. Rap's, the Public Enemy's, the Biz Markie's. Or in the generation where I came up; The Naughty By Nature's, the Wu-Tang Clan's, the Jay-Z's, the Busta's - you know? I think Hip Hop - I don't know who quoted Nelly or how he was quoted, so I can't really speak on Nelly's behalf. But I think with my single "The President" - I'm not bashing Bush or saying pro-Kerry on the record. All I'm saying is any little kid could be president if they want to be.
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