Beat-Town is proud to present an exclusive interview with the legendary Wyclef Jean. The Haitian rapper, producer and songwritter chatted with us about his new album “Carnival III“, The Fugees and many other interesting things. Check out the whole interview below.
Beat-Town: First of all, we want to say that it’s an honor for our website to have you featured here for an interview. Where are you currently at?
Wyclef Jean: I’m back in New York right now!
BT: You just released a new album “Carnival III”. Are you happy from the final output? What should the fans expect from this project?
WJ: Definitely, it’s a tastemaker’s flavor! I’m happy and that’s where it starts with me. It starts with the hard fans, it continues with the newer fans, the bloggers and the people that are feeling the music first.
BT: “Carnival III” is the second project you’ve released this year. What are your plans for the rest of the year and for 2018?
WJ: We’re gonna start a tour. The “legacy” tour. We don’t know how it’s gonna be called yet. “The Wyclef Jean Experience” or “Wyclef Presents The Carnival”. The plan is to start off in America and then we plan to do Europe, Asia and Africa. By next summer we should be more in Europe and Africa.
BT: How did you end up sampling sounds from Jupiter on “Borrowed Time?”
WJ: I’m a fan of Marvin Gaye, Bruce Hornsby, “That’s Just The Way It Is,” you know even Tupac sampled that. When I’m sampling sounds from the space people are like “Man, you smoking that Snoop kush?” (laughts)! I’m always pushing the envelope. So when I got approached by Apple Music, they told me they have this shuttle called Juno that goes to space and records sounds from Jupiter and pictures and then comes back on Earth. So whene NASA’s scientists played me this stuff, I was like “f*ck the native instruments right now, give me this Jupiter”.
BT: Your album The Carnival came out in 1997 and Carnival Vol II was released in 2007. The Carnival Vol III was released in 2017. Will there be another one in 10 years?
WJ: No, you know, I have different albums. I have “Carnival”, “The Elceftic”. So this one is the sequel, it’s the final chapter. Because this album was inspired by the kids that were 12 years old listening to “The Carnival” and now they’re like 33. The producers are producing for others, for example, Supah Mario is producing for Drake. So the combination of this album is the 1997 to meet the 2017.
BT: Is there any artist that you would like to work with, but you didn’t manage to do it until now?
WJ: There are always artists that I wanna work with. I love the new artists, so I’m looking forward to that.
BT: You took a music hiatus in order to become the president of Haiti. What sparked you to come back?
WJ: After I helped my country, I helped with somebody in place. You know, my gift is the music. I didn’t leave music in order to not come back to music, but I felt like when it was time that my people needed me the most, I had to leave music. Can you imagine if you were having a conversation with me and you said “Look man, you’re music is good, but where were you when the people needed you, when they had the earthquake?”. So, I’m proud to say that when my people needed me, I was there, I did my job and now I’m back doing my music.
BT: You have won Grammy awards in the past for your great work. After all these years of producing and writing hits, would you say that this legendary award is the ultimate recognition for your work?
WJ: No, I say the work continues. For me, recognizing work is great, when you can write the music for the people and you can keep inspiring the generations. So, when DJ Khaled sampled my record I wrote for Carlos Santana (“Maria Maria”) for “Wild Thoughts”, for me, that’s the beautiful thing, to keep the generations going.
BT: Funkmaster Flex played an unreleased song from The Fugees. Is there any possibility to listen to more of your unreleased work in the near future or even better, to see you all together making a comeback?
WJ: Anytime The Fudges are ready, I’m ready!
BT: So, shall we expect something soon?
WJ: You should expect something because I’m expecting something (laughs).
BT: Is there an interesting or funny story you might want to share with us about a song you recorded or maybe about a memorable live performance?
WJ: The funniest performance was when The Fugees performed in Japan. We have never tried Sake before and we didn’t know how strong it is. We were drinking Sake so much and the next day we had to make a concert. When the show started, I fell off the stage. I think I did half of the show laying down from the floor (laughs).
BT: You are one of the most experienced musicians out there. What’s the situation in the music business when it comes to sales, recording a new album etc? Is it better or worse compared to… let’s say five or even ten years ago?
WJ: It’s definitely better because more people can get the access to the album on different platforms, like Spotify, Tidal, iTunes, Youtube etc. I think, to me as a producer, it’s a great thing.
BT: How do you spend your free time when you’re not working in the studio?
WJ: I’m having a great time with my daughter.
BT: We really want to thank you for doing this with us and we hope we will see you someday in Greece for a live event. Any final words for your Greek audience?
WJ: I look forward to come there and have a great time with you all performing. Thank you so much, see you soon!
Link with Wyclef Jean:
Official Website: https://www.wyclef.com/
Hosted by: Panagiotis Christoulakis & Hektor Apostolopoulos