Rap artist Wyclef Jean to perform
Rap artist Wyclef Jean, whose recordings with the Fugees include the multi-platinum CD The Score, will perform with the Refugee All Stars at Bates College at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, in the Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building. Tickets are $22 and may be purchased through Bull Moose Music stores starting Thursday, Sept. 9. Tickets are also available at Bates College in Chase Hall beginning Thursday, Sept. 9, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays until the concert. Call 207-795-7496 for more information. The darling of rap aficionados and MTV viewers alike, Jean says his work brings the plight of American ghetto youth to a worldwide audience while putting humor in the hip-hop ethos.
“Hardcore is supposed to be a reflection of hard times,” Jean said. “I think we forgot all about that when we got caught up in the image of hardcore, not hard times. We got caught up in the image of ‘We gonna be mad, we ain’t gonna dance’ and to me that’s fake.”
Jean’s interest in pumping up the fun in hip-hop is grounded in his move from the impoverished streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Brooklyn, N.Y., when he was 9 years old. Brooklyn’s thugs, by comparison to those in his violent homeland, were an easy target for satire.
“When you a kid growing up in Brooklyn, you have two choices, you don’t have three,” he said. “You could either choose to do something artistic, whether it’s music, writing or whatever, or you choose to be in the other life. There ain’t no middle. My mother just geared me toward the music, so the streets wasn’t that much peer pressure for me.”
Jean’s self-produced CD The Carnival features “Gone Till November,” which he composed and conducted for the 62-piece New York Philharmonic Orchestra. His haunting and metaphoric “Apocalypse” and “Year of the Dragon” reveal a pre-millennial society on the brink of calamity. The CD also features autobiographical tracks such as “Gun Powder,” which recounts the murder of a cousin who spoke against the social injustices practiced by Haiti’s then ruling body.
“I release frustration through my music. And my story is the story of over a million men,” Jean said.