Having amassed a tremendous amount of chart-topping and international success producing hits for the likes of Destiny’s Child, Shakira and his former chart-topping group The Fugees among others, Wyclef Jean has decided to share a personal look at his life through a new memoir, Purpose: An Immigrant’s Story.
During a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the multi-platinum musician/producer opened up about penning his revelation-filled tome, the idea of reconciling with The Fugees, and rumors surrounding his affiliation with this year’s Republican National Convention.
While writing Purpose, were there any revelations that came to your attention?
For me, what had came out from the book felt like a sense of relief. A lot of times there’s things that you want to say because you sit back and hear people talk, and it’s all based on speculation. And what happens is an artist is a mytholigcally figure. It’s like we’re tainted to the public as some form of a myth. Even when we’re not around, there’s constant talks about us. But it feels good to release information that people wanted to know. What I got from out of the book was, I’m not the only one going through things. So there’s going to be people who read this and say, “you know what, ‘Clef overcame this, so I can overcome it as well.”
What can fans expect to discover about your relationship with the Fugees?
The Fugees play a pinnacle part of my life. Fans always wanted to know from my perspective of what happened. Like, what went wrong? It’s like, how come we didn’t get a “Score 2, or a Score 3?” Now fans can read in detail from my eyes exactly how I started. And at that age and at that time I was in a relationship with Lauryn [Hill]. So it was very intense being a part of the group and being a part of a relationship. So the fans can definitely get into a firsthand Fugees story.
You guys reunited briefly for the opening of the 2005 BET Awards. Would you ever consider reuniting with Pras and Lauryn?
I talk about that in the book, about trying to get back together. I always leave the room open…the greatest gift that I possess is that I can find and develop talent and put it out to the world. And one of the talents that I brought to the world at one time was Lauryn. I always feel like there’s good talent, so the Fugees were sort of like the hip hop version of the Beatles for me. So the door is always open if they want to do something.
Have you spoke to Lauryn since her tax issues made headlines in recent months?
No, not at all. I just been following what the news has been saying.
Switching gears to politics. Do you have any future plans on making another run in Haiti or the U.S.?
It’s funny that you say that, because in my e-book there’s a song which is called, Rise. And in it I say that I’ve learned that politics is politricks. So what I mean is, it doesn’t mean that we’re not going to fight for legislations and fight for policies. I feel that I have an obligation in Haiti, where I came from, to keep on fighting. And I feel like I have an obligation to the United States to the people who are less fortunate. And when I say that, I’m not just talking about the projects. I’m talking about the people living in the trailers to.
When it comes to poverty you have to understand, true poverty is not just a black issue. True poverty is a world issue. And my thing is, we have to try to fight to try to end world poverty. And I think that will definitely continue. We got to strengthen more policies in different countries that are weak and always subject to being the victims.
What are your current views on this year’s election?
I felt that President Obama came in following the Bush Administration, and it basically was a constant fight with him from the beginning. But he was able to do it and get GM back rocking, got us through our health care situation. And he also eliminated the most wanted man in the world. So I feel if he gets another 4 years he can definitely focus in on what he has to finish up…Mitt Romney on his part, I have nothing against him as a person, but as far as him being the president you can’t put Russia in the forefront of your agenda.
What’s your reaction to reports that you were scheduled to perform at the RNC?
If people don’t see it on my Twitter and they believe it and post it, then that’s on them. Unless Wyclef says that he’s performing at the Republican National Convention, then they should’ve known that was a rumor that was going to spread like wild fire. And my explanation is, an email came through my management office that stated a show for veterans and disabled students. And then two weeks prior to that, I was with Cornel West and Tavis Smiley, and Al Sharpton in D.C. So the minute that it became something for the RNC I was like, “This is something that we can’t do,” but I support the cause. But at the time of an election I highly support President Barack Obama and there is no way that I would have been playing at that convention.
Are you currently working on any new music projects?
Well currently, right now I have a new label with my brother. It’s an artist development/production company called All Hands On Deck. And the focus of it is trying to find the next Billie Holiday, or the next Fugees, Bob Marley, or [Jimi] Hendrix. And it’s a label if you look at everything out there and say, “well damn, the part of the music game that’s missing is what happened to the musicians/singers.” So it’s important that I should fulfill that void, so we’re focused on that.