Isolated lines acknowledge Jesus’ crucifixion (“Hollyhood to Hollywood”), indict deadbeat dads (“Thug Angels”), promote benevolence (“It Doesn’t Matter”), mourn police brutality (“Diallo”) and condemn a music industry in which “to sell a song you need a video with soft porn” (“Low Income”).
Tracks speak of toting, using and selling firearms. While “However You Want It,” “Pullin’ Me In” and “Thug Angels” may appear to disrespect gangstaz, Jean seems more critical of their all-talk-no-action posturing than of the violent behavior they boast about (lines include, “So you a killer? How many people did you kill? . . . You’re an actor” and “You ain’t hard/Take 30 of y’all to murder one kid on the boulevard”). On “It Doesn’t Matter,” Jean puts the moves on a married woman he believes wants to “indulge in lyrical masturbation.” Numerous raps brag about drug and alcohol use in the form of vodka, Hennessey and the artist’s obvious favorite, marijuana (“Something About Mary” is an ode to weed). Elsewhere he visits a “Red Light District” and ogles women at strip clubs (“Perfect Gentleman”). Profanities and bleeped obscenities pop up as well.
A prolific songwriter and member of the rap group Fugees, Wyclef Jean produces flickers of light but entirely too much darkness on The Ecleftic, his second solo project. Teens into rap should try CCM’s Knowdaverbs or BBJay instead.