The first offering from self-proclaimed "Hip Hop Amadeus," Wyclef
Jean of the Fugees, Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival, will hit stores
on June 24.
The album, which press materials refer to as a
"multi-cultural, multi-genre, multi-generational tour de force...also a call to
higher musical consciousness," features everything from the first single, a
hip-hop reapropriation of a Bee Gees disco ditty "We Trying To Stay Alive," to
a hip-hop interpolation of the traditional Cuban anthem "Guantanamera" (which
features Latin superstar Celia Cruz).
Several of the tunes are sung in
Jean's native Haitian French/Creole tongue ("Sang Fezi," "Jaspora," "Yele" and
"Carnival") and a number feature the Refugee Allstars, Jean's Fugees band mates
Lauryn Hill and Prakazrel, joined by John Forte (the first signing to their
label, Refugee Camp Records) and Melky Sedeck (Wyclef's sister). The Neville
Brothers drop by on the song "Mona Lisa," reggae legends the I-Threes lend
their voices to "Gunpowder" and Jean himself conducts the New York Philharmonic
Orchestra on "Gone 'Til November."
The 16-song effort, produced, written
and arranged by Jean, also boasts an obscure opera-sampling tune called
"Apocalypse," the b-side to the single, "Anything Can Happen" (the video for
which Jean recently shot at a Brooklyn roller rink), "To All the Girls," which
a source described as a "more like 'to all the girls I've cheated on before' "
and "Year of the Dragon," a duet with band mate Hill.
Jean will take the
Carnival on the road during the summer for a still-unannounced series of dates,
which will, in all likelihood, not feature Hill, since she is expecting her
first child in late July.