● A CONVERSATION WITH...
Your latest single, “Hendrix,”
alludes to playing guitar in the
basement as a kid. Was that in
East Orange? Yeah, we called it
the Booga Basement. It was at
;;; South Clinton Street.... That’s
where the Fugees got started,
where we did The Score [the
group’s ;;;; breakthrough].
“Hendrix” is about choices
and fate. Many of your early
acquaintances ended up in the
drug trade and came to nasty
ends. How did you find a way to
make better choices? I think my
parents played a big role. If I acted
up, my parents brought me to my
grandma in Brooklyn, and she’d
give me that good West Indian
beating. My parents were very
strong and they were like, “We
brought you here and there’s no
way we’re going to get deported.”
I was among guns and among
drugs. I was in that trap. But I had
two strong parents.
Now you’re married with a child
of your own. My daughter is ;;
going on ;;. If you look on i Tunes
for my new song “My Girl,” from
the EP, you’ll see my daughter on
the cover. The idea of the song is
for you to crown whoever is the
queen or the king of your heart.
She’s my queen.
Why Saddle River? I was work-
You ran for president of your
ing in the city every day, and I
needed somewhere very close by
that was quiet. I can get over the
George Washington Bridge in ;;
minutes. And the area I’m in is a
very cool area. Russell Simmons
was living there, Rev. Run is still
living there. Jason Kidd. All cool.
native Haiti in 2010. Are you still
involved in politics there? For
me, it started out with the Fugees.
Fugees is short for “refugee.” We
were doing stu; like Rock the Vote
and the Free Tibet concert back
in the ’;;s. I’ve been consistent
about being socially conscious. It’s
in my DNA.
Are you a big celebrity in Haiti?
My reputation there is the same
reputation the Beatles have in
England and Bob Marley has in
Jamaica. I move on the ground, I
move among the people...and the
beautiful thing is that when kids
touch [me], they get inspired.
What are your thoughts about
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton? Here’s what I think about
Trump. Hillary says you can bait
him with a Tweet, but listen:
He can bait y’all with a Tweet.
And that’s got to stop. We’ve got
to push past that and look at
all these important issues, like
health care and the economy, in a
How do you feel about Trump’s
position on immigrants? My
parents came here under the Ford
administration. Under Trump’s
policies, a Wyclef would not be
here. The U.S. was built on the
back of immigrants. You want to
get rid of all of us?
So you’re a Hillary supporter? If
you come to a Wyclef concert,
you’ll hear me support Hillary.
And I went to the DNC and supported her there.
What are you feeling for New
Jersey? Pride, man. My family
has left a legacy in Newark. My
daddy built the first bilingual
church there. It’s still there. My
memories are good.
—Tammy La Gorce
GRE W UP IN
Newark and East
of the Fugees; actor;
J’ouvert, a six-song EP due
Carnival III: Road
to Clefication, due