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Album Review

Wyclef Jean serves up another slice of his music and remixing creativity with The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book. Loaded with pop culture commentary and often directly naming social names, The Ecleftic is sure to stir up some emotions from not only the famous, but from the general public as well. The purest example is "Diallo," named after the man who was shot 41 times by patrolling night officers when he reached for his wallet, not a gun as the police had thought. With this, Wyclef shows his refugee camp roots, acting as a 21st century Bob Marley. As much as it is loaded with serious urban observations, Wyclef also serves up a good party and even some love songs. In the beginning, The Ecleftic is loaded with classic and catchy samples, such as the song about his undying love for a stripper paying her way through college entitled "Red Light District." Though older listeners will probably cringe at the thought of Kenny Rogers singing of turntables, this move is no surprise from a man who introduced the Bee Gees to the hip-hop generation with the sample of "Staying Alive" on his album The Carnival. On Ecleftic, Wyclef comes full-fisted with commentary on the police system, urban ills, and stereotypes. Though some are merited, after the first dozen they lose their impact and are swallowed by catchy beats. Overall, another commentary and playfully meticulous production by Wyclef, who has struggled to separate himself from the Fugees. It is clear, with a good retrospective listen, how much Wyclef's production style was a large part of the praised trio. With The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book, Wyclef takes another strong step toward solidifying his own identity.

Biography

Born: 17 October 1972 in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Lead Fugees rapper and sometime guitarist Wyclef Jean was the first member of his group to embark on a solo career, and he proved even more ambitious and eclectic on his own. As the Fugees hung in limbo, Wyclef also became hip-hop's unofficial multicultural conscience; a seemingly omnipresent activist, he assembled or participated in numerous high-profile charity benefit shows for a variety of causes, including aid for his native Haiti. The utopian one-world sensibility that fueled Wyclef's political...
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The Ecleftic -2 Sides II a Book, Wyclef Jean
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