I’ll give Wyclef Jean a number of awards for his work with charities, humanitarian efforts and of course how much he stands for his home country of Haiti. But as hip-hop’s ambassador for the country, I’m not too certain about his idea of wanting to run for President of his native Haiti.
Sure, it’s probably the most stand up thing anybody from this side of the States with strong hip-hop ties will ever do in terms of leading or uniting anything but let’s be clear about this, this is Wyclef Jean we’re talking about here. If steering the direction of a few groups of people wasn’t in his best cards then, leading an entire nation of people may be harder to accept the fact Canibus was on the Gone Til November remix.
Matter of fact, I can offer a list of the times Wyclef has had a major hand in something and it hasn’t gone well – out of third world status.
The Fugees - The first one is always the most unforgiving. After Pras, Lauryn Hill and ‘Clef made it abundantly clear that their brand of hip-hop from New Jersey could transcend genres, the group thought their individual parts were too big and too talented to stick together. After the band split the first time, Clef tried to resurrect the band at Dave Chappelle’s Block Party in 2005. Needless to say, there hasn’t been an album since The Score from the trio and there probably won’t ever be another one. I mean, there’s one thing to try and rebuild a country, it’s another matter altogether to try and rebuild Lauryn Hill.
Canibus - J. Cole’s idol from the 90s got his start by killing verses left and right (notably Beasts From The East), especially of 4,3,2,1 with LL Cool J. That verse pissed off Uncle L to the point where he changed his, went for Canibus’ jugular only to have Bus come back with the 2nd Round K.O. Guess who produced it? Wyclef. Even though it’s most known for being the only “hit” of The Canibus Man’s career, Clef produced the majority of his debut album Can-I-Bus. Aside from “Patriots” featuring Free (yes, Free from 106 and she’s a damn good rapper), the album largely sucked and all the blame went on Clef’s beat selection. Bus hasn’t had a buzz since, not counting the little he resuscitated with 03’s Rip the Jacker album.
"The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II A Book" - Using two twice in the album title, letting Mary J. Blige scream all over “911” and then the ultimate slap in the face of letting The Rock get on “It Doesn’t Matter”. Fail. Fail. Fail.
Those are the three major blemishes on Wyclef’s “handling” career. I must say his attempts to rebuild his country have been well needed, despite the attacks from Fox News that his Yele Foundation is questionable due to payments made to Wyclef and his associates, not to mention spam and imposters trying to get their own dollars out of the “text 501” proceeds.
If he wins, it’s a landmark for a man who went from preacher’s son to the second most talented member in an acclaimed group of musicians. Thing is, I hope he wins on his account of actually knowing his country and what they need to do, not just because he’s a celebrity. It’s like Schwarzenegger running for Governor all over again, except I think Clef may possibly be a better actor and might possibly know how to handle a gun in real life. After all, this is the same guy who went along with T.I. bragging about guns in a music video.