Music: Masquerade

Wyclef Jean

When he's focused, Wyclef is easily hip-hop's best songwriter; on this new CD, he's focused about 40% of the time. On songs such as PJ's and Two Wrongs, he fuses reggae, folk and R. and B. into a sound all his own. The songs have hooks, but they lie back, content to let the lyrics and complex composition shine. The rest of the time he jumps between faux radio skits and crass, attention-seeking covers. Wyclef thinks anything he touches is interesting, but some things, like his hideous update of December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), are best left in shrink wrap....

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