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Purpose Paperback – September 20, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: ItBooks; First Edition edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006196686X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061966866
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A] riveting memoir . . . Jean is candid in chronicling the drama of the music business and his heartfelt anguish for his homeland while struggling with success and commitment.” (—Booklist)

“Jean’s passion for music, his fierce love for his family and for Lauryn Hill, his partner in the Fugees, and his deep and abiding devotion to his native country, Haiti, forcefully reach out and grab the reader.” (—Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

Wyclef Jean is one of the most influential voices in hip-hop. He rocketed to fame in the 1990s with the Fugees, whose multiplatinum album, The Score, would prove a landmark in music history, winning two Grammys and going on to become one of the bestselling hip-hop albums of all time. In Purpose, Wyclef recounts his path to fame from his impoverished childhood in "Baby Doc" Duvalier's Haiti and the mean streets of Brooklyn and Newark to the bright lights of the world stage.

The son of a pastor and grandson of a Vodou priest, Wyclef was born and raised in the slums of Haiti, moving with his family to New York when he was nine. He lived in Brooklyn's notorious Marlboro projects until his father, Gesner Jean, took them to Newark, where he converted a burnt-out funeral home into a house for his family and a church for his congregation. But life in New Jersey was no easier for Wyclef, who found it hard to shake his refugee status. Forced to act as a literal and cultural translator for his parents while still trying to master English himself, Wyclef soon learned that fitting in would be a constant struggle. He made his way by competing in "freestyle" rap battles, eventually becoming the best MC in his school. At the same time, Wyclef was singing in his father's choir and learning multiple instruments while also avidly exploring funk, rock, reggae, and jazz—an experience that would forever shape his sound. When Wyclef chose to pursue a career in music over attending theological school, Gesner, who hated rap, nearly disowned him, creating a gulf between father and son that would take nearly a decade to bridge.

Within a few short years, Wyclef would catapult to international renown with the Fugees. In Purpose he details for the first time ever the inside story of the group: their rise and fall, and his relationships with Pras and Lauryn Hill.

Wyclef also looks back with candor at the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 and his efforts to help rebuild his homeland, including the controversy surrounding Yéle, his aid organization, and his exploratory bid for president of the island nation. The story revealed in Purpose is one of inspiration, full of drama and humor, told in compelling detail, about the incredible life of one of our most revered musical icons.


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Customer Reviews

I--needed, closure and reading this book, hearing this audio gave that to me.
Tellmeasecret
He jumps from thought to thought, and from story to story with little regard for his readers and fans.
leirbag
I was very surprised and somewhat amazed at how much i enjoyed reading this book.
Sandra Akunne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Paxman on October 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
Wyclef Jean is a great musician (I speak as a fan), but his inability to be honest about the failure of his Haitian charity Yéle is greatly disappointing. Yéle has effectively collapsed, yet Jean has the temerity to declare in his book: "Yéle is Haiti's greatest asset and ally." This is a tale told by an egotist, the latest in a long line of charismatic would-be saviors of Haiti, whose efforts have achieved little of lasting worth.

If you think I'm exaggerating, read "In Haiti, Little Can Be Found Of a Hip-Hop Artist's Charity," in the 12 Oct. edition of the New York Times: [...]

Here's a sample: "The forensic audit examined $3 million of the charity's 2005 to 2009 expenses and found $256,580 in illegitimate benefits to Mr. Jean and other Yéle board and staff members as well as improper or potentially improper transactions. These included $24,000 for Mr. Jean's chauffeur services and $30,763 for a private jet that transported Lindsay Lohan from New Jersey to a benefit in Chicago that raised only $66,000." And this was a lenient audit: these improper payments do not include the $100,000 that Jean paid himself to perform at a Yéle fundraiser.

There's a morality tale here, about what happens when a wealthy and talented popular hero, cocooned for years by public adulation, attempts a new calling for which he has neither professional preparation nor sufficient wisdom or humility. It's a great story, but for the people of Haiti a tragic one, and it will be left to someone else to tell it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tellmeasecret on September 26, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I came into this book like many Fugee fans, needing closure. Why did the Fugees break up, was it Wyclef's ego, Lauryn Hill's pregnancy by another man? Was it the Source Magazine wanting Lauryn Hill to go solo? Was it the love triangle between Wyclef, his wife and Lauryn? F what everybody says about tell all books, I wanted Wyclef to write this book, to tell all. I--needed, closure and reading this book, hearing this audio gave that to me. Wyclef's Brother, Sam narrated the audio book and he sounds simular to Wyclef so it felt real, organic, like he was recounting a memory to friends and family members, listening I felt like family. The book opens with the earthquake that happened in Haiti and how Wyclef not just heard about it but went down there to help, lost friends there. Listening to this part reminded me of the 9/11 attack on the world trade center, all the death, all the helplessness, all the survivor guilt. This book takes you to that moment. Next Sam tells us of Wyclefs coming of age from Wyclefs point of view, being raised by his grandmother because his mother and father moved to America, being poor, not knowing English. His coming to America story is so inspirational. I loved hearing stories of his preacher father who had this guardian angel/ancestor following behind him as he protected his family from the thugs. They could see the protector but he couldnt, but those that posed a threat could. I believe in that. Listening to Sam tell the Wyclef and their family story reminded me of the movie The Color Purple when Oprah says, 'All My Life I Had To Fight'. Hearing how they had to fight american blacks because they were haitian reminded me of how racism even if you the same color bares its evil head. Halfway into the book, audio, The Score. Now I got to get closure.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By funkyman33 on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
While Wyclef has had an interesting life, I couldn't help be a little disappointed with his biography. It felt cursory - he deals with his early life and the formation of the Fugees in great detail (particularly his relationship with Lauryn Hill), but the description of his personal life sounded superficial. While he mentions his kids and wife, they are often discussed only in the context of the Fugees. There's barely anything about his career after the Fugees. While I found this informative, I wonder how much is happening behind the scenes that wasn't discussed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 7, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition with Audio/Video Verified Purchase
i know what you're thinking: here comes another throw-poor-lauryn-hill-under-the-bus, trashy tell all. i mean, let's face it. clef has been scrambling 2 do damage control on his relationship with lauryn since The Ecleftic -2 Sides II A Book, which, not coincidentally, is the album he released after the scathing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. considering the definitive skill with which that album eviscerated a then anonymous (but suspect) mr. jean, it's quite understandable that clef has for years been attempting to defend his side of the story. but does he succeed with Purpose?

well first, it's important to note that the entire book is not about lauryn (thank the most high!). there are some pretty hilarious anecdotes involving the short-lived fugees mascot and using Haitian "voodoo" methods to get respect. at the forefront of wyclef the man is his contentious relationship with his father, a strict Haitian preacher, the discrimination he faced simply from being a Haitian immigrant, as well as his initiation & evolution into music & hip hop. not 2 mention his deep love for Haitian culture, best illustrated in the opening chapter's account of his involvement with Haiti's 2010 earthquake. with these stories, you get a very real sense of where his passion lies, what drives him the most. all of which, btw, is already apparent in any wyclef interview.
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