WYCLEF ROCKS THE HOUSE
Haiti’s carnival may have been cancelled because of last’s month 7.0-magnitude earthquake but that didn’t stop the quake-ravaged Caribbean nation’s biggest superstar from throwing his own Carnival inside the Eden Roc.
Rocking non-stop ’til past 4 am Sunday, Wyclef Jean performed some of his most popular hits – English and Creole – while mixing in a bit of 80s DJ hits from other artists along with traditional Haitian Vodou-inspired roots music.
With dozens of girls on the stage, he kept the crowd on its feet with a high-energy performance that required three change of shirts during the night.
But the crowd wasn’t the only one wood, or surprised. Jean also got a few surprises of his own. The first came as he was performing his idol Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. As he performed the song on his guitar, a man wearing a gray sweater jumped on the stage and took the mic out of a shocked Jean’s hand.
It was Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy.
Next it was LL Cool J’s turn. As he attempted to leave the party, LL Cool J – conspicuously dressed in a sweater, cap and dark shades – was prodded to come to the stage by Wyclef as his DJ played “Don’t Call it a Comeback. Momma gone knock you out”.
He obliged and sang in honor of Haiti. Of course there were other performances in the non-stop carnival atmosphere: Haitian-born rappers Black Dada, Haitian Fresh and a slew of Haitian Kreyol rap artists (flown in from Haiti) to help keep awareness on Haiti this weekend.
Also given a shout out – the Prince of Dubai. And there were performances by Haiti’s Barikad Crew, the country’s biggest hip hop grew; and RockFam. They were flown in from Haiti.
This all came on the heels of the night before. Just after Friday became Saturday, Rapper Drake – the single and cameo-meister who topped the charts, earned a Grammy nod and a huge fan base without ever releasing an album – rocked the Eden Roc during a stoked set at the 944 party.
It only got better: Rapper Common, fresh off telethon duties at the SOS Saving Ourselves benefit concert at the AmericanAirlines arena for Haiti, pumped the crowd with his classic hits and freestyle skills (which included a rhyme with the phrase, shopping at Aventura Mall). Big ups for giving us the local flavored lyrics.
Among the celebs who passed through the set: Jessica Alba, CSI: Miam’s Omar Miller and Serena Williams, no doubt there to see her “just friends, friend” Common.
Spotted outside the hotel: former NFL great-turned actor Michael Strahan, with Nicole Murphy (Eddie’s ex) and Venus Williams.
– JACQUELINE CHARLES and AUDRA D.S. BURCH