I've been an appreciator of Wyclef's musical output since the Fugees first dropped in 1994. As I've said in other reviews, I don't always agree with his public persona (in fact, I think familial allegiances currently, sadly have him on the wrong side of the Haiti independence/JB Aristide issue) but it's his musical output that resonates one million times and here is where Wyclef never fails to deliver. I cop everything that Clef (and Jerry Wonder) puts out. He constantly pushes the boundaries of our musical sensibilities and we'd be wise to just grab on and let him steer the ship. He hasn't failed us yet. Sure, he's taken us into unproductive directions before (like the lackluster duet on Tanya Stephens' "Gangsta Blues" album), but he always rights the vessel and puts us back on the radical course we signed up for.
This is the best Wyclef album that most of us will never hear. It's rich with musical texture and rhythmic experimentation. Clef has provided previous musical hints of this creative undercurrent and I'm glad he finally found the time to pull it all together in one package. This is Clef's Pan-African-Caribbean masterpiece. He sounds more relaxed here than he has since The Carnival. He sounds like he's having a great time and we, the listeners, benefit from it all. This is a light, uplifting, thoroughly enjoyable disk.
It's not a hip hop album, it's not a traditional Haitian pop album, the closest musical peer I can compare it to is Zouk as typified by early Kassav', however, even that comparison is just a rough estimate. This album has cousins in the Reggaeton/Cubaton camp, in the Ragga camp, in South African Township music, in African American song structure, the skilled listener will also hear some Papa Wemba in there, etc. Clef appears to have taken the truest definition of the word "creole" to heart and mixed it all up in a gumbo/jambalaya that we can't help but love. Good one, Clef. Again. As usual.
I hope this album will inspire more visibility for the lesser known areas of Caribbean music. The next obvious step for Clef would be to produce a compilation of Haitian musicians, however, I fear his political affiliations will silence some of the more vital Haitian voices. Anyway, enough speculation. Buy this one, NOW. You owe it to your ears.