Wyclef Jean, the Grammy Award-winning rapper and producer who had devoted much of his recent efforts to humanitarian help for his native Haiti, is set to return to hip hop next month with the release of "From The Hut To The Projects To The Mansion." The 13-track E.P., featuring all new material produced by DJ Drama, comes out Nov. 10 on Carnival House via Megaforce/Sony Music.
"From the Hut..." features guest spots from other musicians and rappers, including Eve, Timbaland, Maino and Cyndi Lauper, among others. The 13-tracks are strung together in a continuous mix with a narrative arc, telling the story of Toussaint St. Jean, a persona suggested to Wyclef by his friend and collaborator T.I. The character of Toussaint is loosely based on an 18th-century Haitian revolutionary hero, Toussaint L'Ouverture.
On the E.P., Wyclef raps and sings from the Toussaint persona, taking on the spirit of a military fighter with grisly war stories. To create a suitable musical accompaniment to the dark stories, Wyclef turned to superstar producer DJ Drama. "I asked myself, 'Who's the toughest guy out there?'" Wyclef says. "Then I said, well, DJ Drama is pretty badass. So I called him and asked if he'd be interested in doing a mixtape. He heard what I was up to and he said, 'We gotta do a book - this is a novel!' He got excited, and it became more like an EP than a mixtape."