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Wyclef Goes Back to the Carnival with Help from Akon and Lil' Wayne

wyclef_jean_bountykiller_Jamaicanmodelsgirls.jpgWyclef is taking us back to the Carnival! His new album Carnival II (Memoirs of an Immigrant) hits stores November 6. The first single "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill)" features everybody's favorite featured artists Akon and Lil' Wayne.

About Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean (born October 17, 1972) is a rapper, producer, and member of the superstar hip hop trio The Fugees, known now for a series of high-profile hit singles.

Born in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, Jean moved to Brooklyn when he was nine, then to Northern New Jersey, where he began playing the guitar and studying jazz in high school. In 1987, Jean, his friend Prakazrel Michel (Pras) and his classmate, Lauryn Hill, formed a group called the Tranzlator Crew before becoming The Fugees.

The Fugees signed to Ruffhouse Records and released their debut, Blunted on Reality, but the album was panned and sold poorly. Their eclectic follow-up, The Score, however, sold over 17 million copies worldwide and turned the trio into international superstars. Jean soon announced plans to begin a solo career with 1997's Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival Featuring the Refugee All-Stars (more typically called simply The Carnival). The album's guests included Hill and Pras along with Jean's siblings, the I Threes (back-up vocals for Bob Marley), Neville Brothers and Celia Cruz. The album was a major hit, as were two singles: "We Trying to Stay Alive" (adapted from The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive") and "Gone 'Til November" (recorded with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra).

Jean went on to work with artists including Santana, Tevin Campbell, Cypress Hill, Bounty Killer, Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Sublime, Simply Red, Mya, O'Connor, Kimberly Scott, Mick Jagger, Canibus, The Black Eyed Peas and Eric Ben..t. The Fugees remained in limbo during this time, with the follow-up to The Score being continually postponed as all three members cultivated solo careers. Jean's second solo album was The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book, recorded with guests Youssou N'Dour, Earth, Wind & Fire, Kenny Rogers, The Rock and Mary J. Blige. The critical reception was mixed, with many calling the album scattershot and too far-ranging to be cohesive.

Jean's third album, Masquerade, was released in 2002 and sold well, though critics frequently panned it. His fourth album was The Preacher's Son, an album that Wyclef considered a continuation of his first album, Carnival.

In 2004, he released his fifth album, entitled Sak Pas.. Presents: Welcome to Haiti (Creole 101) (released in the United States by Koch Records). A freewheeling album that is something of a return to his Caribbean roots, most of the songs on the album are in his native language of Haitian Creole or Krey..l. He also covered Creedence Clearwater Revival's song "Fortunate Son" for the soundtrack of The Manchurian Candidate.

Jean also produced and wrote original songs for the original soundtrack to Jonathan Demme's 2003 Documentary "The Agronomist", a film about the legendary Jean Dominique, an active man of the people of Wyclef's homeland, Haiti.

In the same fashion, Jean crafted the music for the documentary Ghosts Of Cite Soleil, in which he found himself on the phone with a young and notorious gang leader in Haiti wishing to leave the life of violence and follow Jean's footsteps and pursue a career in rap.

In 2005, Jean earned a Golden Globe nomination for his track entitled "Million Voices" featured on the soundtrack to the film Hotel Rwanda.

Jean has been active in his support of his native country and created his own foundation Y..le Haiti to provide humanitarian aid and assistance to Haiti, which is currently the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Y..le is a non-political organization intended to empower the people of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora to rebuild their nation.

"The objective of Y..le Haiti is to restore pride and a reason to hope, and for the whole country to regain the deep spirit and strength that is part of our heritage." -Wyclef Jean