WYCLEF JEAN Masquerade (Sony) Rating: NN Rating: NN
With Lauryn Hill under a mysterious Svengali's control and now certifiably bonkers, Wyclef's hope of a Fugees reunion seems truly dead and gone. Faced with a lifetime of being famous for being famous, Clef strikes back with a Creole hiphop album that no one in either the Caribbean or the Bronx would be caught dead listening to. Novelty covers of What's New Pussycat and Knockin' On Heaven's Door -- Clef plays guitar! -- and preachy lectures about cleaning up hiphop don't exactly take us back to the good old days. Neither does Wyclef's crew of no-name guest stars destined to be as famous as Canibus. The MC does his best Bob Marley impersonation, compares himself to Hendrix and suffers the indignity of being out-rhymed on the second track by an eight-year-old. Ouch.