Wyclef Jean - Greatest Hits

Music Reviews Wyclef Jean
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Wyclef Jean - Greatest Hits

Earlier this year, Columbia dropped a sad, inadequate Fugees’ Greatest Hits, a depressing testimony to the willingness of record execs to cash in on the interests of fans. Fortunately, this Greatest Hits gives Wyclef’s post-Fugees’ solo-work and collaborations a more respectful and complete treatment. Ever eclectic, mixing metaphors and rhyming, Wyclef pilfers from reggae, soul and even The BeeGees to press his case for urban survival. “We Trying to Stay Alive” co-opts the disco-era classic for a Fugees All-Star reunion, conspicuous for the absence of Lauryn Hill. “Ghetto Religion” and “911” are more traditional soul collaborations with R. Kelly and Mary J. Blige, respectively. Clef’s political consciousness pours out of many of the tracks, but most powerfully in “Diallo,” which addresses NYC police violence with the aid of world-music vocalist Youssou N’Dour. Of course, not all the experiments work entirely. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” sends out props to Bob Dylan and offers tribute to Tupac and Biggie, but the rather rote version of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” serves no one well. The pro-pot anthem “Something About Mary” works until Clef starts bragging on his middling guitar talents. Bragging and name-dropping may be part of the game in hip-hop, but when it comes to instruments you either got the skills or you don’t. Clef’s Greatest Hits works best when he sticks to the areas where he’s got more than enough game to score.

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