Next year marks 25 years in which there has been an artist who has weaved in and out of musical genres like Muhammed Ali did in the boxing ring. His name is Wyclef Jean. The Haitian rapper-songwriter, producer, global icon turns 49 years old on (Oct. 17). Happy early Birthday Wyclef.
On Tuesday October 9th at 8am, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will announce the next class of nominees. With 2019 being his 25th year after the release of his first commercial recording, Blunted on Reality with the now disbanded Fugees, it makes Wyclef eligible for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As a Member of the National Recording Arts and Science (Florida Chapter), which may not have any influence on your induction process, I nominate Wyclef Jean to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, which is next year 2019. When he is inducted, it would be an honor with Wyclef’s permission to give his introduction.
Wyclef is known for being one-third of the Fugees. The group rose to fame with songs like Ready or Not and Killing Me Softly from their sophomore album The Score. It was Wyclef’s eclectic production along with some other amazing producers that made that album so unique and refreshing from other hip-hop music in the 90’s era.
After the Fugees split up, Wyclef released his critically-acclaimed solo project The Carnival, featuring the incomparable Celia Cruz, the soulful sounds of the Neville Brothers and many more. In between his next album he co-wrote and produced Destiny Child’s first # 1 hit “No, No, No (Part 2) Remix” lead by the global superstar, Beyoncé Knowles. His sophomore solo album, The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book went country with Kenny Rogers, then with Dwayne, “The Rock” Johnson at the cusp of his Hollywood blockbuster launch with the track,“It Doesn’t Matter.” At the same time, Wyclef expressed, Black Lives do Matter with his prophetic Diallo, just when he called 911with Mary J. Blige. In Masquerade his Rock n Roll spirit was displayed in the timeless hit “Knocking on Heaven’s door.” Next, he celebrated The Preacher’s Son album with Patti Labelle and Cassidy, the he spent Three Nights in Rio where Wyclef’s guitar spoke with that of Carlos Santana.
Wyclef’s musical journey, along with his cousin Jerry Duplessis, continued when he took us to the beautiful island of their birth, Haiti, with Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101.Before Carnival Vol II in 2007 when Wyclef drove a Fast Car, with Paul Simon, he tugged at our hearts with the tear jerker Millions of Voices featuring the African Children Choir for the film Rwanda.It wasn’t just Any Other Day with Norah when he exchanged bars in Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) with Akon, Lil Wayne and Raekwon (remix) just like he did with Freddie Mercury of the Immortal band Queen back in 1998 with Another One Bites the Dust (Remix),Wyclef in 2006 traveled the world with Shakira letting us know with their number one hit song in over 55 different countries and one of the highest selling singles of the 21st Century with Hips Don’t Lie. In 1998 the dynamic duo of Wyclef with Jerry ‘Wonda’ Duplessis reminded the world with the late, great Whitney Houston with My Love is Your Love
Wyclef is also known for his activism and charitable efforts. In all of his efforts, to paraphrase Rocky Balboa, “it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Wyclef has and still get his share of criticism. “Clef”, if you are reading this be encouraged by a Haitian proverb my father once told me, “It’s easier to criticize than to criticize.” If you, or members of your record label at Heads Music are reading this article, continue to create Wyclef on your birthday and beyond. Give some people something to talk about. I envision your music and great sense of production will evolve, building on your legacy, from the small screen like Netflix, Prime or Hulu or even on the big screen. The possibilities are endless. In Wyclef’s latest album Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugeehe reminds us that we must Carry On, since we are all on Borrowed Time. Wyclef is now taking his time to find collaborators for his new album, “Wyclef Goes Back to School.”
In terms of 2019 his first year of eligibility for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. To the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation’s Nominating Selecting Committee, I hope you are reading this article. I don’t work for Wyclef or even know him personally, but I am a fan of his work
I believe Wyclef continues to demonstrate unquestionable musical excellence and talent. He’s had and continue to have a significant impact on the development, evolution and preservation of Rock & Roll. In terms of the categories Wyclef embodies the Performerscategory (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 2018),which honors bands or solo artist which demonstrates musical excellence. Such a descriptor includes (but isn’t limited to) influence or other performers or genres: length and depth of career and catalog, stylistic innovations, or superior technique and skills.Next is theRock & Roll of Fame Award for Music Excellence (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 2018)is the award that honors performers, songwriters and producers who have changed the course of music history. These artists have dedicated their lives to creating influential, important music with originality, and have achieved a level of timeless distinction.To reiterate a statement I made earlier, the dynamic duo of Wyclef Jean and his cousin ‘Wonda’ Duplessis (who should also be inducted) lived out that definition with song like D’aillo, My Love is your Love and one of the highest selling singles of the 21st Century with Hip Don’t Lie.
In conclusion, I’ll quote the legendary Ice Cube, during his N.W.A 2016 Rock Hall induction acceptance speech “Rock & roll is not an instrument; rock & roll is not even a style of music. Rock & roll is a spirit. … It's been going since the blues, jazz, bebop, soul, R&B, rock & roll, heavy metal, punk rock and, yes, hip-hop. And what connects us all is that spirit. …Rock & roll is not conforming to the people who came before you but creating your own path in music and in life.”
Again, Wyclef Jean Happy early 49th birthday. For you 50thnext year if not before, to me or millions of your fans (check out the petition to get Wyclef on the Miami Beach recording of the Daily Show with Trevor Noah) you will be a Rock & Rock Hall of Fame Inductee.
Yanatha Desouvre is an Amazon best-selling author whose latest action mystery/thriller novel Revelations: Roads to Redemption pays homage to Wyclef Jean almost 25 years discography as well as honors timeless Haitian proverbs. He’s also a Professor of Marketing, Coach and IT Professional For more info www.yanatha.com
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (2018, 09 24). Induction Process. Retrieved from https://www.rockhall.com/inductees/induction-process