Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival

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The Carnival
The Carnival (Wyclef Jean album).jpg
Studio album by Wyclef Jean
Released June 24, 1997
Genre Hip hop[1]
Length 73:51
Label Columbia[2]
Producer Wyclef Jean, Jerry Wonda
Wyclef Jean chronology
The Carnival
(1997)
The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book
(2000)The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book2000
Singles from The Carnival
  1. "We Trying to Stay Alive[3]"
    Released: May 24, 1997
  2. "Guantanamera"
    Released: 1997
  3. "Gone Till November"
    Released: January 20, 1998
  4. "Cheated (To All The Girls)"
    Released: July 28, 1998
  5. "Gunpowder"
    Released: September 28, 1998

The Carnival is the debut album released by American hip hop musician Wyclef Jean. The album was released on June 24, 1997, Wyclef 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 peaked at number four on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and garnered Jean two Grammy Award nominations at the 40th Grammy Awards, including one for Best Rap Album. The other for his top 10 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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[4]
The Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly A[6]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[7]
NME 8/10[8]
Pitchfork 8.0/10[9]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[11]
Spin 8/10[12]
The Village Voice A−[13]

The album received Universal Acclaim. 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."[13] 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.[14]

Stephen Thompson of The A.V. Club, in a favorable review, called The Carnival "a stunning solo album that's light years beyond The Score".[15] He also wrote "In his universalist embrace of music of all forms, Wyclef Jean makes a more powerful call for peace and unity than a thousand East Coast-West Coast "Stop the violence, y'all" intros put together."[15]The Carnival was voted the sixteenth best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1997.[16] Christgau, the poll's creator, ranked it twentieth on his own list.[17]

In 2011, Rolling Stone ranked The Carnival the 69th best album of the 1990s.[18]

Commercial performance[edit]

The Carnival debuted at number sixteen on the US Billboard 200, selling 52,000 copies in it first week.[19] It also debuted at number four on the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album spawned the singles "Gone Till November", "We Trying to Stay Alive", "Guantanamera" and "To All the Girls". The album was eventually certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over two million copies in the United States. The album also sold over 5 million copies worldwide.[citation needed]

Track listing[edit]

The Carnival – Standard edition
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Court Clef" (Intro) Jean 3:15
2. "Apocalypse"
  • Jean
Jean 3:49
3. "Guantanamera" (featuring Celia Cruz, Jeni Fujita and Lauryn Hill) Jean 4:30
4. "Pablo Diablo (Interlude)" (featuring Crazy Sam and Talent)
  • Jean
Jean 0:39
5. "Bubblegoose" (featuring Melky Sedeck) Salaam Remi 3:49
6. "To All the Girls" (Prelude)
  • Jean
Jean 0:29
7. "To All the Girls" Jean 4:18
8. "Down Lo Ho (Interlude)" (featuring Talent and Wil Shannon Briggs)
  • Jean
Jean 1:13
9. "Anything Can Happen"
  • Jean
  • Duplessis
Jean 4:36
10. "Gone till November"
  • Jean
  • Duplessis
Jean 3:27
11. "Words of Wisdom (Interlude)"
  • Jean
Jean 0:45
12. "Year of the Dragon" (featuring Lauryn Hill)
  • Jean
  • Duplessis
  • Hill
  • G. Summers
Paul Epworth 4:07
13. "Sang Fézi" (featuring Lauryn Hill)
Jean 4:02
14. "Fresh Interlude"
  • Jean
Jean 1:45
15. "Mona Lisa" (featuring The Neville Brothers)
  • Jean
Jean 4:30
16. "Street Jeopardy" (featuring John Forté and R.O.C.)
Jean 3:57
17. "Killer M.C. (Interlude)" (featuring Pras)
  • Jean
Jean 0:32
18. "We Trying to Stay Alive" (featuring John Forté and Pras) Pras 3:11
19. "Gunpowder" (featuring Lauryn Hill)
  • Jean
Jean 4:24
20. "Closing Arguments (Interlude)" (featuring Talent and Wil Shannon Briggs)
  • Jean
Jean 1:35
21. "Enter the Carnival (Interlude)"
  • Jean
Jean 0:24
22. "Jaspora"
  • Jean
Jean 4:03
23. "Yele" (featuring Joel Servilus and Lauryn Hill)
  • Jean
Jean 5:24
24. "Carnival" (featuring Jacob Desvarieux, Jocelyne Béroard and Sweet Mickey)
  • Jean
  • Duplessis
Jean 5:06

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1997-1998) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[20] 42
Dutch Albums Chart[21] 48
German Albums Chart 81
New Zealand Albums Chart[22] 31
Norwegian Albums Chart[23] 24
Swedish Albums Chart[24] 16
Swiss Albums Chart[25] 38
UK Albums Chart 40
US Billboard 200 16
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 4

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[26] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[27] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nelson, Havelock (December 27, 1997 – January 3, 1998). "The Rap Column". Billboard: 85. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  2. ^ "All Music Label". AllMusic. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  3. ^ "All Music Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ Stanley, Leo. "Presents the Carnival Featuring Refugee Allstars – Wyclef Jean". AllMusic. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Record Reviews". The Austin Chronicle. August 1, 1997. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ Bernstein, Jonathan (July 18, 1997). "The Carnival". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Connie (June 21, 1997). "Presenting a Daring Solo 'Carnival' Ride". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ Batey, Angus (June 21, 1997). "Wyclef Jean Featuring Refugee Allstars – The Carnival". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  9. ^ Zeichner, Naomi (October 8, 2017). "Wyclef Jean: The Carnival". Pitchfork. Retrieved October 8, 2017. 
  10. ^ Morales, Ed (June 26, 1997). "The Carnival: Wyclef Jean". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 1, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  11. ^ Moon, Tom (2004). "Wyclef Jean". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 425–26. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  12. ^ Michel, Sia (August 1997). "Wyclef Jean: Presents the Carnival featuring Refugee Allstars". Spin. 13 (5): 111. Retrieved July 23, 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (September 23, 1997). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 1997). "Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton, Wyclef Jean, Strip Jointz". Playboy. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  15. ^ a b Thompson, Stephen (March 29, 2002). "Jean ventures far beyond the places he knows". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  16. ^ "The 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 28, 1998. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Pazz & Jop 1997: Dean's List". The Village Voice. New York. February 28, 1998. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  18. ^ "100 Best Album of the Nineties". Rolling Stone. May 16, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2017. 
  19. ^ Chris Harris (December 12, 2007). "Josh Groban Rules Billboard Chart For Third Straight Week: Blake Lewis Barely Cracks Top 10". MTV. Retrieved June 1, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 66, No. 26". RPM. March 23, 1998. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Dutch Album Top 100". April 11, 1998. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  22. ^ "New Zealand Album Top 40". May 31, 1998. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  23. ^ "VG Lista - Album Top 40". Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  24. ^ "SVERIGETOPPLISTAN - ALBUMS TOP 60". July 25, 1997. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  25. ^ "SCHWEIZER HITPARADE - ALBEN TOP 100". August 3, 1997. Retrieved June 2, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Wyclef Jean – The Carnival". Music Canada. 
  27. ^ "American album certifications – Wyclef Jean – The Carnival". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH