Former Fugees member Wyclef Jean has quietly had himself a very strong year so far in 2017. Besides being the inspiration behind Young Thug's award-winning music video that the Atlanta rapper didn't even end up appearing in, he was also inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, alongside names like Kelly Ripa and Connie Chung. Now, Jean has a different achievement to celebrate - the release for Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee. This new album is his first full-length offering since 2009, when he dropped From the Hut, To the Projects. This LP is also the sequel, both in name and spirit, to 2007's Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant. Though the trademark Wyclef sound remains in tact for the most part, there are still some new twists and turns that should intrigue and excite most fans.
A collection of songs that ultimately empower migrants and, more generally, any group of people who feel marginalized or downtrodden by the establishment, Carnival III possesses the same crossover appeal as Wyclef's past releases have been known for. The radio-ready singles were abound on the last installment in his Carnival series and, while the same can't necessarily be said here, the mix of acoustic guitar flourishes, soulful backing vocals and thoughtful, activist lyrics make this an album that will take on additional meaning in the current political climate in the United States. Donald Trump's reign as President has been the focus of many artists, both from the world of music and beyond, in their work and Wyclef is no different. There are specific call outs to be sure, but the time and place that this LP will exist in historically is unmistakable.
Stream the album on Spotify and Apple Music. Hit or miss for Wyclef Jean? Let us know in the comments.