The Ecleftic - 2 Sides II a Book
He may still be trying to shake the aura of The Fugees, but out on his own, Wyclef Jean has now crafted two very impressive solo albums.
On this, his latest, "Clef" has gone eclectic, bending, breaking, and busting nearly every hip-hop boundary along the way.
While The Ecleftic is most definitely a hip-hop album, its musical montage includes reggae, jazz, folk, rock, soul, and nearly every other style under the sun. There's even a bizarre cameo by veteran country crooner Kenny Rogers, who reworks "The Gambler" on "Kenny Rogers/Pharoah Monch Dub." Not surprisingly, that cut is the album's one genuine throwaway, but there are far more wondrous moments to be found on the 19-track disc.
For starters, check out "911," a raspy and soulful acoustic-based ballad which includes contributions from Mary J. Blige. Or spin straight to the wild mix of rock, jazz, and ska on the lead single "It Doesn't Matter," which turns into a playful, rapid-fire blast that has Jean paired with wrestling superstar The Rock. Of particular note is the Marley-esque masterpiece "Diallo," a straight-ahead take on the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo by New York City police.
To top it off and twist the tempo one last time, Jean ends The Ecleftic with a surprisingly faithful, but quite compelling take of the Pink Floyd classic "Wish You Were Here."