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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 10:37 am Post subject: WYCLEF INTERVIEW (AUGUST 2000)! Reply with quote

Wyclef Jean
Rapper, Writer, Producer
Interview conducted by Fred Fabien
Questions by Patrick Desvarieux & Fred Fabien

Wyclef Jean is an inspiration to millions of Haitians around the world. In this EXCLUSIVE interview, he opens up about many topics. He talks about Haitian pride, his new CD, the Fugees, voodoo, Haitian player haters, Sweet Micky, Princess Georgy and much much more. Enjoy Wyclef like you've never heard him before.

Kompa! Magazine: Why haven’t you been able to help other Haitian artists cross over to the American market?

Wyclef: I grew up in the rap game you know. I listened to a lot of Hip Hop and Reggae.

I’m Haitian, but I didn’t grow up with Compas (music). My uncle who recently past away put us up on the Compas vibes. I fell in love with Reggae in Brooklyn. I fell in love with Stone Love (a Reggae sound band). I use to do dub plates (self-promos for a Reggae DJ sound on the current popular rhythm). I chatted ( to sing Reggae) before I started [rapping] you know. (Laughs). Those were the days.

KM: Does Wyclef want to be the only one (Haitian) that makes it to the American market as it has been rumored in certain Haitian circles?

Wyclef: It's not like that. I got love for all my peoples. I hang out strictly with Haitians! Haiti ‘til I die! (he exclaims). Man, come on. I have Haitian cats down with me on the roster. Jerry (his cousin and producer), Melky and Sedek (his sister and brother respectively), so no one can say that. When I step on stage to receive a Grammy, it’s Haiti that wins, not Wyclef Jean. I always represent Haiti on the national stage.

KM: What’s up with you and Danny Le Beau of Tabou Combo ? We heard that you guys had/have a falling out?

Wyclef: Who?! (pausing for a moment) Oh!, Danny from Tabou. I have no beef with Danny man. I have no beef with anyone. We attempted to do a project and it didn’t work out. What I suggested wasn’t to his taste and I wasn’t feeling what he wanted us to collaborate on. You know if I’m going to do a rap cut it’s going to be real. So that was it. No beef. No problem! If Wyclef ever has beef with anyone the world would know. My beef would be like Biggie’s song “What’s Beef?” It would be real!

KM: Were you supposed to help Emeline Michel with a planned CD she had coming out on SONY?

Wyclef: Everyone always stresses more into something than there really is. It was like this; Papa Jube got a deal through RuffHouse and I thought me and Emeline could work on something together. But the deal fell through.

KM: Did you have ANYTHING to do with the deal falling through?

Wyclef: I had nothing to do with it. I was just trying to look out and help her out but her deal with RuffHouse didn’t work out.

KM: Do you think she has the talent to cross over? What about Danny Le Beau?

Wyclef: I just wish all of them luck. I really can’t say because I don’t feel it like that. I’m on a completely different vibe.

KM: What do you mean by that?

Wyclef: I’m just concentrating on so many projects that I don’t have time to break down other people's work like that. I’m into Hip-Hop. Compas is really not my thing.

KM: Were you ever involved with or did you ever date Princess Georgy? That was the talk of the industry for a while.

Wyclef: All I have to say is that she’s a sweetheart! She’s talented man. She’s super talented! She’s an incredible singer.

KM: Would you ever showcase her talents on one of your records?

Wyclef: What I do is not her style. She can sing her Compas songs, but I don’t think that her flow would fit Rap and maybe not even R&B. But I got love for her.

KM: You know she just recently moved from Zin to Phanttoms. What do you think about that?

Wyclef: Yeah! I heard about that. Whatever makes her happy. It doesn’t matter who she’s with. A lot of cats in the Haitian industry flip bands. She’s just doing her thing and trying to stay happy.

KM: Is it true that before you blew up in the American market you were turned down by the group Zin when you offered them a project? What’s the real story?

Wyclef: (He laughs out loud). Nah man, six or seven years ago when we (The Fugees) were coming up and trying to break through, I put word out that we wanted to open for a Haitian band. I don’t even think Zin knew anything about it. Some dude down with Phantoms heard about it and we opened up one night for them. We played mad early that night! There was nobody there. (He laughs). We played for an empty house. (He chuckles).

KM: How do you feel about all that?

Wyclef: Nothing. It wasn’t like that. As far as Zin, I really didn’t get a chance to vibe with them until about a couple of years ago…that cat the lead singer (Alan Cave) is cool. He doesn’t seem to be a hater.

KM: Tell us about your friendship with Sweet Micky? How did you guys connect?

Wyclef: Micky’s the bomb man! That cat’s crazy cool! You hear me? Back when I was nobody he still made time for me. He would come up to me after a show and he would just kick it. Micky gave us our props and he was real. He wasn’t phony. He was the only Compas head that I knew who was really into Hip Hop. I got love for Micky man.

KM: What’s your input on the vicious rivalry between Sweet Micky and T-Vice?

Wyclef: Man I really don’t know too much about it and where it’s coming from. I can’t really say. All the bands sound the same. I mean, the flavors are similar. No one sounds that different from the other. So I don’t see what the beef is all about. All I know is that Micky’s style was that he came in with three niggaz and a synthesizer and banged. He was like ppppp that 30-member band shit! (He stops and laughs a little hilariously). And all the bands that came in after him just followed. I mean if it's working for them (Compas bands) … All I know is that when I wanted to do Carnival (his first solo album), Sweet Micky responded. I’ll do anything for him!

KM: What do you have to say about all the feuds going on between the bands in the Haitian music industry?

Wyclef: All the bands should love each other. Look at me in the American market. I don’t have a single ennemy. How many people can call up Whitney (Houston), Mary (J. Blige), and Kenny (Rogers) and be like, “Yo I want you to kick it with me on a song”.

KM: What about your beef with Lauryn, Pras, Cannibus and LL (LL Cool J?

Wyclef: I got nothing but love for LL. I respect that dude. Lauryn and Pras is where I started. They know how I feel and where to reach me. But you know we got issues.

KM: Is “Where Fugee At?” (the first track on his new album “Ecleftic”) a message to Lauryn and Pras?

Wyclef: It’s a check yourself thing. It’s like to keep them in line. It’s both. You can say it’s a dis. I had issues I needed to address. I want them to remember where it started.

KM: “The Ecleftic” is radically different from “The Carnival”. Why is that?

Wyclef: I had to take it back to the essence. Back to “Blunted on Reality”. (The Fugees' first album back in 1994). I had to remind them that Wyclef Jean is not soft and that I can still keep it real! I had issues to settle on “The Ecleftic.” It ain’t all about the money. Now I’m already busy in the studio working on “Carnival II”.

KM: What was up with your love affair with Lauryn?

Wyclef: There isn’t much to say. I’ve already done a few interviews on it already. (Almost dismissing it as old news. Clef sung about it in “To All the Girls” from “The Carnival”). We were a tight crew. What happened happened and that’s all I have to say about it.

KM: Where does your wife fit into this picture?

Wyclef: I love my wife. She was there for me from the beginning way before the Fugees, when I was struggling. We’re fine now. Everything is OK.

KM: So, what’s the future like for the Fugees?

Wyclef: We’re still here. Lauryn and Pras know how to reach me. I don’t have no beef with them. It’s just issues. I would love for us to get down again. I’m looking forward to reuniting. Lauryn and Pras heard “The Ecleftic” and they loved it! They called and told me that. I mean, they could have issues with the man, but if his music is good they can’t knock it.

KM: Why have you found so much success in the Hip-Hop industry?

Wyclef: I just keep it real. Many are called but few are chosen. I write songs and create beats. A lot is from the heart others just for fun. I just do what I’m feeling.

KM: What were you feeling with "It Doesn’t Matter" (your current release)?

Wyclef: I wanted it to be a little bit more hardcore. The first release was "Thug Angels". The second release "It Doesn’t Matter" was crazy yo! My little sister put me on to "The Rock". (The WWF’s most popular wrestler). We were in the car chillin’ and I was like "it doesn’t matter." She was like, "you can’t say it like The Rock". I was like who? I didn’t know who The Rock was. I’m always in the studio. I wanted to tap into the kids. They’re mad about wrestling. Next thing I know we were in the studio with The Rock recording "It Doesn’t Matter".

Wyclef: I’m always playing different shit in the studios, even country. My mom used to play a lot of country at the crib back in the days. You know in the 70s a lot of Haitians were into country. It was probably the closest thing to Compas that they had available. Growing up in the Marlboro Projects in The Bush (Flatbush, Brooklyn), I had a lot of exposure to Reggae. My man Kris Ex was in the studio with me one day and heard that shit and said yo man put it in "The Ecleftic".

KM: "Blunted on Reality" your first CD was basically a failure, but the track "Nappy Heads" was an underground Hip-Hop hit. How did the Fugees draw from that one track?

Wyclef: The big picture kept me going. The energy comes from God. I’m Haitian and we don’t give up. "I’m Haitian" is the same thing as saying "I’m smart". You know what I’m saying? Haitians are some smart cats. We’ve been through a lot of shit and we know how to get by.

KM: If you believe in God, what role does voodoo play in your life?

Wyclef: God is whatever form of the creator you believe in. I believe in God. It’s what I draw from. God means you from the most high. I believe in my faith. Voodoo is a religion. I don’t practice voodoo. My grandfather was a voodoo priest. You should ask him about voodoo (he ads cynically) but he’s dead now. My father is a Christian minister. He has a church and I grew up believing in God.

KM: So what is all the hoopla that’s made about you and voodoo?

Wyclef: Man, you know how some people are! You say you’re Haitian and they automatically associate you with voodoo like we don’t believe in God. You say voodoo and they think we’re someplace cutting chicken heads and they get off on that shit. Yeah, some shit was printed about me and voodoo, but like I said, I don’t practice voodoo.

KM: Have you heard any recent Haitian records? Which ones have grabbed your attention?

Wyclef: I really don’t know that much about the Haitian bands or their music to say like one is slamming more than the other. All I know is that Ti Manno is the man! I’m feeling that cat. There are a lot of good Haitian singers, but writing a song is more than just singing, it’s about lyrics, and Ti Manno can hold it down. Have you ever really sat down to listen to his words? That cat is deep!

KM: Why hasn’t Compas crossed over to the American market like Reggae or Latin music? Do you even think it can?

Wyclef: The Latinos have been in this game for a long time. It may seem that they came out of nowhere, but they paid their dues. The Haitians (music industry) just have to be patient and learn from the Latinos how to hold it down. (Haitian) bands need to sing in English to crossover. Look at Ricky (Martin). All his cuts that were crossover successes were in English.

KM: But don’t you think that because a lot of Americans either already speak or understand Spanish makes a difference?

Wyclef: No doubt! I remember back in the days when radio stations use to play songs with Creole in it and the producers use to fade out the song before the Haitian part came in. It was the same thing with chatting and rapping on R&B tracks, but look where we are now.

KM: Would you consider yourself more Haitian or more American?

Wyclef: I’m 100% Haitian. I came here when I was 10. I’m proud to be Haitian. I still have my Haitian passport. I represent Haiti in everything that I do. Every head in the industry knows that I’m Haitian. When I’m dealing with those cats they know what I’m about. I was Haitian first. Haiti till I die!

KM: How come you don’t put more Haitian artists down with you or you don’t support them more?

Wyclef: If you’re talking about Compas, you know that’s not my scene. As far as Hip-Hop, I’m the motherfuckin' Haitian invasion. When I’m coming through niggaz know that I just don’t roll with Haitians. I invade with Haitians. I’m down for the Caribbean scene. I represent for Haiti and the Caribbean in Hip Hop, and we’re making it happen.

KM: How about Sweet Micky?

Wyclef: I would rap for Micky. He’s raw! I would do it for Micky because he keeps it real. All he has to do is call me.

KM: How about the other bands in the industry?

Wyclef: I really don’t know those other guys. When the Fugees were no one they never approached me. Only Micky gave me love, so I’ll give Micky love back, but it doesn’t mean that I’ll never work with any of them.

KM: Do you go to any "bals"?

Wyclef: I use to back in the days, but not anymore. Mad bands be hating me. When I’m out in that scene I feel all the tension. I feel the player hating and I feel them really not liking me. That’s why I stopped going to Haitian industry events. No man. For real. I don’t want to deal with that vibe.

KM: Do you walk around with bodyguards in the U.S. or in Haiti?

Wyclef: Nah man. I just roll with my crew. And if there’s heat, ‘m pa mach? sang fizi. (I don't walk without a gun) I’m strapped with two nines. That’s all I need. No bodyguards.

KM: How about when you’re in Haiti?

Wyclef: That’s home man. I got thugs (people from the hood who are down with him and got his back) everywhere. City Soleil, Guadape, - I do a lot for my people in those places so I don’t have to worry about anything when I’m down there.

KM: Will you do Carnival in Haiti next year?

Wyclef: If I go down there for anything like that they will shut Haiti down. Carnival is definitely out of the picture. I have too many fans in Haiti. That combined with some other issues would make it an uncomfortable situation down there.

KM: Who’s they?

Wyclef: There’s just a lot of conflict. A lot of things need to be worked out. I got mad love for my country. "Peyi mwen belle. Epi li douce." But there’s still some major issues. I would love to go back to Haiti to do it for the Haitian massive. I know the fans there love me and want to see me. Believe me, I want to do it for Haiti, let me come again (he pauses), there’s a lot I can do for Haiti. But the time is not right. And I’m not in it for the money.

KM: For example, are you talking about the airport you want to build?

Wyclef: Yeah man! (His voice gets excited). I want to build an airport right damn in the middle of the country. You hear?! The people there they deserve it. Money is not a problem. I can bring tourism to Haiti. Do you know how much I could help Haiti? I'm down with all sorts of people who are willing to help Haiti. I can bring major artists to have massive concerts. That would only be the beginning.

KM: So what’s stopping you?

Wyclef: Like I said before the time is not right.

KM: When Wyclef is done with music, where do you want to retire?

Wyclef: Wherever man. It really doesn’t matter to me. I would love to be in Haiti. "Peyi nou an belle mon chere".(Our country is beautiful) You hear me? "Pa gin oken kote like Ayiti." (There's no other place like Haiti) Haiti till I die!

KM: Any final words to the Haitian masses?

Wyclef: Yeah! Tell the bands I want them to come together. They have to stop all this fighting. This beef stuff is not working. They should represent Haiti correctly because Compas is Haiti’s cultural music, the whole world is watching you know? Oh, and tell Georgy I said hi.

Phone: (646) 529-5735
E-Mail: Kompamagazine@gmail.com

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:49 pm Post subject: wow Reply with quote

Danm that was a pretty good interview.. things really changed from the time wyclef had that interview.. he's trying his best to help the Haitian artists...

you can hurt me physically but you can never hurt my soul...
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Location: saw bezwen konnen fe

PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:56 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

really nice interview can u give u an other one like that with him pat
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