Nelust Wyclef Jean
Day Of Birth:
October 17, 1972
Place Of Birth:
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
consciousness also informed his recordings, which fused hip-hop
with as many different styles of music as he could get his
hands on (though, given his Caribbean roots, reggae was a
particular favorite). In addition to his niche as hip-hop's
foremost global citizen, Clef was also a noted producer and
remixer who worked with an impressive array of pop, R&B, and
hip-hop talent, including Whitney Houston, Santana, and Destiny's
Child, among many others.
The son of a minister, Nelust Wyclef Jean was born in Croix-des-Bouquets,
Haiti, on October 17, 1972. When he was nine, his family moved
to the Marlborough projects in Brooklyn, NY; by his teenage
years, Jean had moved to New Jersey, taken up the guitar,
and begun studying jazz through his high school's music department.
In 1987, he also joined a rap group with his cousin Prakazrel
Michel (aka Pras) and Michel's high-school classmate Lauryn
Hill. Initially calling themselves the Tranzlator Crew, they
evolved into the Fugees, a name taken from slang for Haitian
refugees. The trio signed with Ruffhouse Records in 1993 and
released their debut album, Blunted on Reality, the following
year; it attracted little notice, thanks to an inappropriate
hardcore stance that the group wore like an ill-fitting suit.
But the Fugees hit their stride on the follow-up The Score,
ignoring popular trends and crafting an eclectic, bohemian
masterpiece that sounded like nothing else on the hip-hop
landscape in 1996. Thanks to hit singles like "Fu-Gee-La"
and "Killing Me Softly," The Score became a chart-topping
phenomenon; in fact, with sales of over six-million copies,
it still ranks as one of the biggest-selling rap albums of
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