Wyclef Jean - Masquerade
A new release from the one of the greatest rappers in the world would usually be something to celebrate. Sadly, however, Masquerade isn't quite up there with Wyclef Jean's best work; it's full of original ideas but surprisingly few of them are well executed. The former Fugee is still in fine voice but success seems to have gone to his head - we don't really need to hear his boasts about making a million dollar video or being the only rapper to play Carnegie Hall. He's far better when he moves on to more sensitive subjects, such as social problems in the ghetto and the death of his father. Most of the time, however, Masquerade has its mind on loftier issues, including an adaptation of Knocking On Heaven's Door which includes references to the victims of September 11. Somehow, it just doesn't feel right andshy; and neither do the rather graceless samples (Tom Jones, Four Seasons) which litter this curiously ill-judged album. A temporary setback or the start of a permanent decline? Time will tell.
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