Tuesday, 2 November 2010

CONVERSATION HIGHLIGHTS: A quick chat with Haitian-American entertainer Wyclef Jean

A DAY IN THE LIFE: Hip hop star Wyclef Jean (left) and Shaggy; above with a fan, during a recent concert stopover in Jamaica.

To close of an especially eventful year that has seen him embroiled in controversy centred on his (unsuccessful) bid to contest the 2010 Presidential Elections in his native Haiti – not to mention his media tiff with Oscar-winning actor and humanitarian Sean Penn – multi-platinum Haitian-American hip hop artist Wyclef Jean has poured his experiences into a trusted artistic medium – his music. The result is the forthcoming If I Were President: My Haitian Experience, a six-track EP to be released via Columbia Records on December 7. During his recent trip to Jamaica, TALLAWAH spoke to the 40-year-old star about finding inspiration for the new record and whether his famous locks will ever return.

It has been announced that you are set to release your new record, If I Were President, later this year. Where did the inspiration come from?
For this album, I was mainly inspired by Fela Kuti. You might have heard of him all over the place, but I am talking about the original story. This was a man who stood up for Jamaica, for justice and what he believed in. He was a true revolutionary. He was also someone who ran for president as a way to beat the system, and he was opposed, just as how the system tried to fight me.

What will the listening experience be like for those who cop the album?
When listening to the album, it will be like you’re hearing an audio-film. It’s like when I was growing up and reading Marcus Garvey. That’s the kind of impact I want it to have.

Do you have any favourite cuts on this album?
Well, we got two songs that have been released so far: “Election Time” and “Death Threats.” The entire EP should be out in December.

Your Rasta-style dreadlocks was a such a huge part of your image. Will we ever see you sporting dreads again?
I never think of no locks, man (Laughs). The Rasta is in the heart. The locks naturally grow, so they can come back any time.

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