"Before THE CARNIVAL, I had the courage/audacity to buy only one other rap CD, the Fugees' THE SCORE. And I did not leave to regret it. THE CARNIVAL is a masterpiece. I truly believe that years from now, even if rap loses its clout in the music industry, this album will be remembered as a milestone. It will probably be what Marvin Gaye's WHAT'S GOING ON album is to us now. I had always thought that Wyclef was just a background singer for Lauryn Hill until I sat down to listen to THE CARNIVAL, and saw his true genius illuminating every edge of that black and purple disc. Unlike several other rap disks that lose their timeliness as months pass, THE CARNIVAL still remains true to life. The only reservation that I have about this disc is the needless swearing that it contains, but as it is, an edited version is now available. My favorite English song was 'GUNPOWDER' and I think it was a pity that Wyclef and the powers-that be at Columbia/Ruffhouse never saw it fit to release it as a single. I also am convinced that the album was not publicized as much as it should have been. And the fact that Clef lost the Grammy nomination to an album as pointless and as balloon-airy as Puff Daddy's NO WAY OUT was a tragedy. That just goes to show that having connections can be a substitute for lyrical and musical prowess. Listening to the album, one is practically given a glance at a soul on fire----to paraphrase Manchester. I love the manner in which the songs are sequenced. Many individuals of Haitian descent thought it insulting that Wyclef chose to place all the Creole songs at the end of the disc, but I do see his point. It was his way of conveying his journey from immigrant kid, to Youth Diaspora to assertive American. THE CARNIVAL was not only a musical milestone, but a cultural milestone too. It was the first time that a culture as alienated as the Haitian culture was taken (even if it were for a brief moment)out of its isolation, and placed in all its beauty, underneath bright lights where all could observe its grotesque qualities. It was the first time someone was proudly declaring their Haitianess, not in a room, but on the international front, where all could hear. Maybe part of the album's attraction was the manner in which Wyclef's assertion of himself, of his culture and homeland became not just a one-man thing, but a universal thing. It was almost as if he channeled his feelings through the rest of us---those who had just come from Haiti, those who had been in the States for some time, and had virtually become de-ethnicized. He speaks of them in his Bible-allegory based reggae song'Jaspora'("Pouki sa, ou pèdi non-w se Samyél/Pouki sa, ou pèdi-w avèk Israyèl)And if THE CARNIVAL is but a sneak preview of what is to be expected from Mr. Jean, than be lo bring on the beats."
A musical and poetic feast for fans and non-fans of rap.
Katheline St.Fort | 06/10/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd never bought a rap cd until I saw a Wyclef video and thought it was very cool. I purchased "The Carnival" upon hearing it had been nominated for a grammy. I love it! Practically every song stays in my mind long after I've stopped listening. I especially like the switch to reggae on the last third of the cd. The only thing I don't care for is the stupid dialogue in between some of the songs. P.S. I'm the only white woman in my neighborhood pumpin' the bass with Wyclef in my car full of kids!"
Clef breaks cultural barriers
Amber Lupo | St. Louis, MO | 08/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've had this CD since it dropped & I still throughly enjoy it. It is a creative and interesting blend of hip-hop, r&b, reggae, and Caribbean music. Wyclef keeps the lyrics positive and thought provoking...and at times witty as well. He doesn't seem to care what people have to say, on this disc he has something to share whether there's an audience or not. This has become one of my favorite CD's...it's timeless. If you don't believe me, just listen to the last track and TELL ME it didn't make you get up & dance. I dare you!"
ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITES
Amber Lupo | 06/16/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wyclef has alot of talent. With great hip-hop and other great songs like a classic of mine Gone Til November. There is alot of really good songs also, it is a strong reccomendation"