The Carnival

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This article is about the Wyclef Jean album. For the Michael Fedo story, see The Carnival (short story). For other uses, see Carnival (disambiguation).
The Carnival
Studio album by Wyclef Jean
Released June 24, 1997
Genre Hip hop[1]
Length 73:51
Label Sony Music/Columbia Records
Producer Wyclef Jean, Jerry Wonda
Wyclef Jean chronology
- The Carnival
(1997)
The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book
(2000)

"The Carnival" is the debut album released by American hip hop musician Wyclef Jean. Released on June 24, 1997, Jean also served as the album's executive producer. The album was a critical and commercial success, reaching at number sixteen on the US Billboard 200 chart, and reaching the top five on the Top R&B Albums chart, peaking at number four and garnered Jean two Grammy Award nominations for the 40th Grammy Awards, including one for Best Rap Album. The US top ten hit, "Gone Till November" earned Jean a nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 41st Grammy Awards in 1999.

Music and lyrics[edit]

The album encompasses many musical genres, including hip hop, reggae, folk, disco, soul, Son Cubano and Haitian music. The album features guest appearances from Celia Cruz, The Neville Brothers and Jean's bandmates from The Fugees, Lauryn Hill and Pras. It also features skits between many of its songs, most of them set in a fictional trial for Wyclef Jean, in which he is accused of being "a player" and a "bad influence". The final three songs on the album are sung in Haitian Creole.

Commercial performance[edit]

The Carnival spawned the singles "Gone Till November", "We Trying to Stay Alive", "Guantanamera" and "To All the Girls". The album sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and was RIAA certified 2x Platinum.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau A–[3]
RapReviews (7.5/10)[4]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[6]

In a contemporary review for The Village Voice, music critic Robert Christgau found the album more R&B than the "diasporan flavors" it uses as "half decoration, half concept", and remarked that Jean uses the sampler for "one-dimensional tunes" that showcase his "well-articulated morality tales and popwise carnivalesque."[3] In his review for Playboy, Christgau asserted that the album is more likely than any other well-meaning hip hop to impact the demographic it aims at and also works as an attempt to prove Jean is equally worthy of the attention given to Lauryn Hill.[7]

The Carnival was voted the sixteenth best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1997.[8] Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it twentieth on his own list.[9]

Tracklisting[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Intro"    
2. "Apocalypse"    
3. "Guantanamera" (Featuring Celia Cruz, Jeni Fujita & Lauryn Hill)  
4. "Pablo Diablo (Interlude)" (Featuring Crazy Sam & Da Verbal Assassin)  
5. "Bubblegoose"    
6. "Prelude To "To All the Girls""    
7. "To All the Girls"    
8. "Down Lo Ho (Interlude)"    
9. "Anything Can Happen"    
10. "Gone till November"    
11. "Words of Wisdom (Interlude)"    
12. "Year of the Dragon" (Featuring Lauryn Hill)  
13. "Sang Fézi" (Featuring Lauryn Hill)  
14. "Fresh Interlude"    
15. "Mona Lisa" (Featuring The Neville Brothers)  
16. "Street Jeopardy" (Featuring John Forté & R.O.C.)  
17. "Killer M.C. (Interlude)"    
18. "We Trying to Stay Alive" (Featuring John Forté & Pras)  
19. "Gunpowder" (Featuring the I-Threes)  
20. "Closing Arguments (Interlude)"    
21. "Enter the Carnival (Interlude)"    
22. "Jaspora"    
23. "Yele"    
24. "Carnival" (Featuring Jacob Desvarieux, Jocelyne Béroard & Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly)  

Chart performance[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Single Chart Top position
1997 The Carnival The Billboard 200 16
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4

Singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Top position
1997 "We Trying to Stay Alive" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 14
Hot Rap Singles 3
The Billboard Hot 100 45
"Guantanamera" Latin Pop Airplay 16
Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay 12
1998 "Cheated (To All the Girls)" Hot Rap Singles 6
"Gone till November" Canadian Singles Chart 4
Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 1
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 9
Hot Rap Singles 2
Rhythmic Top 40 19
The Billboard Hot 100 7
UK Singles Chart 3
"To All the Girls" Canadian Singles Chart 19
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 48
The Billboard Hot 100 61

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nelson, Havelock (December 27, 1997 – January 3, 1998). "The Rap Column". Billboard: 85. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ link
  3. ^ a b Christgaua, Robert (September 23, 1997). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  4. ^ link
  5. ^ RS 764/765
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 1997). "Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton, Wyclef Jean, Strip Jointz". Playboy. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice (New York). February 28, 1998. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Pazz & Jop 1997: Dean's List". The Village Voice (New York). February 28, 1998. Retrieved July 22, 2013.