Words by Nick Slay

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Everyone is buzzing about Nas’ upcoming symphonic performance at the Kennedy Center set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Illmatic. However, it is important to note that he is not the first emcee to share his gift of rhyming on a classical level. Wyclef Jean was the first hip hop artist to play Carnegie Hall with a philharmonic orchestra. Never to be out done, The Fugee front man will be unleashing his “A Night of Symphonic Hip-Hop” Tour this spring. Fans, starting tonight at the Omaha Symphony, will be treated to five orchestras styled concerts that are sure to be as colorful and exciting as any track that he has ever produced.  Co-presented by the Maha Music Festival in Omaha, ‘Clef promises to show us his influences through these performances.

In dedication to and inspired by one of his musical heroes, Quincy Jones, Wyclef will re-tell the story of how he discovered jazz and classical music when he was a teenager, and how his whole goal was to make to Carnegie Hall. After making that dream come true he wanted to model his approach on Jones who is his inspiration for the project. Quincy Jones being the titan of musical scoring and arranging that started off as a young trumpeter for the likes of Ray Charles and exploded to the legendary producer of Michael Jackson and so much more. Jean said in a recent interview.


“I’m like a DNA of Quincy Jones,” Jean said. “He’s who I look up to. Think of this era — I’m a musician, an artist and a composer. You’re getting to hear the catalog from Wyclef the composer. The crowd gets the juxtaposition of material they might not have even known I wrote, from ‘Maria, Maria’ I wrote for Santana and ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ with Shakira right up to 2018.”

Wyclef will be performing songs from his Carnival III, his first studio album in six years that released last year. The audience will be blessed as he plans to remix with all of the symphonic tools of classical music. For anyone who has seen Wyclef perform live knows this will be an experience that you won’t to miss.