Wyclef Jean’s new memoir “Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story” has been in stores for less than 24 hours, but the candid tales from the Haitian-born artist are already giving fans more insight into his life than ever before — exploring everything from the Fugees breakup to his attempted run for president after the catastrophic Haiti earthquake.
Jean tells MTV News that he plans to pen at least seven books in his lifetime, but the first release needed to give fans and the public a close and personal look at his life and career.
“I’m gonna write seven books, and the first one was a memoir because of one of the things I learned when I ran for president and got bamboozled,” he said, sharing his epiphany. “The mass world, what they know about Wyclef is basically that he can sing, he can produce, he can write songs, but they don’t know how smart musicians actually are and where they’re from. The memoir, [it] was important to me that it’s raw, it’s honest, it’s like my music and if you’re reading it, you just feel like you’re a one-on-one conversation opposed to reading something.”
The memoir certainly reads like a diary, like Clef intended, and one of the first excerpts to leak detailed his romantic relationship with Lauryn Hill, and that sent fans into a spiral. “Now my Twitter is going off and a lot of people are like, ’Clef is going at L on this memoir’ — not at all,” he said, addressing the immediate feedback. “Because a true Fugees true fan is gonna want to know what happened to the group. It was very important for me to be as honest as I could be. And when you read my memoir, that’s the age I was, that’s the period [it was].”
Lauryn Hill and the Fugees aside, the musician and activist admits that the most difficult topic he tackled in the memoir was his experience in Haiti immediately after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean island in 2010.
“The hardest thing for me in the book was talking about Haiti’s earthquake,” he said.
“Landing on the ground 24 hours after … there was a young kid, and I knew he was going to die and he called [out] my name. There’s no ambulances, no EMS, there’s nothing but I have to give him hope to think that they’re coming for him, so he can exit earth in a peaceful way. That made me understand the importance of life.”
“Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story” is in stores now.