Wyclef Jean earned a remarkable respect for Young
Thug's artistry after they collaborated for "Jeffery."
The opening track on Young Thug 's latest
project, Jeffery , is called "Wyclef Jean ," perhaps
partly due to its reggae influence. Wyclef Jean himself
shows up on the project's final song, which is, for
reasons not entirely clear, entitled " Kanye West."
Speaking to Pigeons & Planes, the 46-year-old Fugees
singer and emcee explains how Thugger had reached
out for them to work together and how
their Jeffery collab eventually came about. Since their
first meeting, Thug and Wyclef have developed a close
rapport. The Atlanta rapper will guest on a track called
"I Swear," off Wyclef's upcoming J'ouvert EP. In the
new interview, Wyclef even went as far to compare
Thug to a late legend who was a contemporary of his:
When Thug first got in touch with Wyclef, he
apparently told him, "You're one of my greatest
inspirations." Wyclef then describes Thug playing him
"some of the best music I've heard in my life." The
session took place on Thug's birthday, and to warm up
for adding his vocals to "Kanye West," Wyclef began
singing, "Happy birthday to you, Jeffery." It was
Thug's idea to loop Wyclef's "Jeffery" and use it as a
backing vocal throughout the track.
Young Thug also demonstrated his love for Wyclef's
homeland of Haiti when they first met. Thug hails from
an impoverished part of Atlanta colloquially known as
"Lil Haiti." He was excited to tell Wyclef that he had
named his daughter Haiti and to show him his "Haiti"
tattoo. Thug's similar background and his innate
connection to Haiti is what prompted Wyclef to make
the Tupac comparison.
"Sometimes you don't realize who you are affecting,"
explained Wyclef. "But he's from a project, I'm from a
similar background. And he has a natural love for Haiti,
understanding the history of Haiti. Haiti is the first
black republic. He reminded me of a modern Tupac, in a
sense -- in a revolutionary sense."
He went on to expound on the Pac connection,
explaining, "I mean that by, alright, you might see a
thug, but his connection to history seemed similar to
what Pac understood, of like, 'This is who the Black
Panthers are. Read this book, read that book.'" Wyclef
detailed about how he sent Thug a documentary that he
executive produced, "Ghosts of Cité Soleil," which
provides a portrait of the gang violence in the worst
parts of Port-au-Prince. Thug's already seen it "10, 15
times," says Wyclef. "He is like a sponge when it comes
Wyclef Jean's J'ouvert EP is set to drop next month.
Read the full P&P interview, which also covers the
disaster his country is experiencing due to Hurricane