Wyclef Jean is taking it back to his hip-hop roots on his latest effort, "DJ Drama Presents Wyclef Jean AKA Toussaint St. Jean From the Hut To The Projects To The Mansion," available on Nov. 10 through his own Carnival House Records. On the eve of the release, the Haitian MC/songwriter/producer is giving Billboard.com visitors an exclusive listen to the track "Warrior's Anthem" off the EP.
"I signed an autograph for a kid, 'Clef from the Fugees' / The kid looked at me and said, 'What the hell is the Fugees? / Ain't you will.i.am from the Peas?' I'm a fan, but no I ain't will.i.am / let me introduce myself to the new generation / I'm Wyclef Jean, singer,songwriter,composer / in highschool I used to be a battle rapper / then I got with the Fugees, hi haters / 15 years later I still sold more records than all of y'all put together," Jean assertively clarifies over a choir-like production with minimal drums.
"When you get to a certain point in your career, people forget where you came from. So now, Toussaint is going to show everyone my skills and how I got started in hip-hop," explains Jean of the album, which is hosted by DJ Drama and features Timbaland, Eve, Lil Kim and an electrifying collaboration with Cyndi Lauper.
"From the hut is where we come from - where we ride donkeys to school. Dudes in the states don't know what latrines are," he says. "For us, by the time we got to the projects we thought we were in a mansion -- that's what an upgrade it was from back home. But then we were finally there when we got to the mansion. The point is, whatever you want to do you can accomplish. If I came from nothing and became something, if I was chosen for greatness, then, so can you."
Other stand-out tracks include "The Streets Pronouce Me Dead," which finds Jean addressing all the naysayers, and the Lauper-assisted "Slumdog Millionaire," on which she sings, "We don't care what you say, from the hut to the projects to the mansion, now a millionaire / if you come from the hood, expect nothing less / I wanna see you get your money," on the chorus.
Jean is currently working on his upcoming self-titled album, slated for a March 20 release. He will also perform at New York's Nokia Theater on Monday (Nov. 9) as part of a partnership with Western Union for their "Random Acts of Giving" holiday campaign.