October 28, 2004

Wyclef Jean: Welcome to Haiti Creole 101

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Ever since his days in the uncommonly eclectic Fugees, Wyclef Jean has kept himself busy in and out of the studio, collaborating with a wide range of artists like Celia Cruz and Destiny’s Child and alerting a wider public of the societal problems plaguing the Caribbean nation. Yet Jean has also managed to shed his homeland in a positive light, as he has done on Welcome to Haiti Creole 101. Mainly recorded in the language of the people, Creole, Welcome to Haiti has enough watered down dance hall to connect with a general audience, yet also posits genuine Kompa for those looking for authentic Haitian music.

The album’s intro is a powerful excerpt from an interview with the late Jean Dominique, and on “President,” Wyclef lists off the things he would do as president, a platform that would win my vote any day. The Kompa-rhythm induced “Party by the Sea,” and “Proud to be African,” are both excellent messages to convey to an island so riddled with ethnic tensions perpetuated by class stratifications.

Archived article by Sophia Asare