Wyclef Jean Says New Fugees Album Will Reflect the Times

The Fugees are hard at work on a new album, their first together in 28 years, and Wyclef Jean predicts that the music “will not be pretty.”

“We just create tunes, things that are relevant to the time—we are going through a tough time, right? So I’m sure the music is not gonna be pretty,” Jean told EBONY after his electrifying performance at the 70th St. John Celebration in St. John, one of three territories that comprise the U.S. Virgin Islands. Jean added that the Fugees make “timeless music.” Indeed, their 1996 seven-time-platinum album The Score, featuring “Fug-Gee-La” and their remix of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly,” has remained a cultural touchstone for nearly three decades.

Before talking with EBONY, Jean had entranced the carnival crowd for nearly two hours. Dressed in shiny gold pants and a loose white button-down, Jean played classic hits on the guitar (at one point with his mouth), piano and drums, reminisced about studio sessions with Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and gave a security a run for their money as the Haitian-born artist jumped off the stage to be among the jam-packed crowd.

“I’m an island man, and for me, this is part of my culture,” he declared to EBONY. “This is what we do. I play all over the world, but I’m most excited when I come home and play for my people.”

Patrice Roberts at 70th St. John Celebration Village in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Image: Rudy Laplace
Patrice Roberts at the 70th St. John Celebration Village in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Image: Rudy Laplace.

Other notable performers during the seven-day Celebration festival lineup included reggae and soca singers such as Karnage, Dexta Daps, Patrice Roberts of the toe-tapping “Like Yourself” hit and more.

For its 70th St. John Celebration Village, the island hosted Jouvert, an early morning musical march through the streets, its 175th Emancipation commemoration and its annual carnival parade with evening fireworks on July 4, 2024, to celebrate its U.S. Independence Day.

Updated: July 9, 2024 — 3:05 pm