Wyclef Jean

J'ouvert

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Presented as an EP, J'ouvert, titled after the party that marks the beginning of Carnival, serves as an appetizer for Wyclef Jean's first full-length since 2009. Wyclef stated that his intent here is to build on "Hips Don't Lie," his global hit with Shakira, and his own "Sweetest Girl (Dolla Bill)." While those songs are a decade old, Wyclef's cheery, sometimes playfully romantic fusions of tropical pop and hip-hop don't sound out of place in 2017. The likes of "I Swear," "Rear View," "Little Things," however, are B-grade in comparison to the earlier hits, functional but unexceptional. More promising are the slowly winding "Holding on the Edge" -- a collaboration with Walk the Moon, of all people -- and the downcast "Hendrix," where a leisurely trap production serves as the backdrop for Wyclef's reflection about choosing music over dealing (with a reference to the thematically related "Gone 'til November"). This also includes some of the cuts released the previous year and the following January, such as the well-meaning if tone deaf "Life Matters" and an update of "If I Was President." Young Thug, whose JEFFERY featured a song titled after Wyclef and a Wyclef collaboration, appears on "I Swear."

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