The Fugees member breaks out on his own with a new album

Rapping to No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, Fugees killed the summer of ’96 softly with their lyrical hip-hop. On July 1, with a year gone by and 11 million copies of The Score sold, Wyclef Jean, the Fugee behind most of the group’s entrancing production, will release a solo album titled Wyclef Jean Presents: The Carnival. But because the disc is peppered with appearances by the Refugee All Stars — that enviable clique of Fugee friends that includes Jean’s band mates Lauryn Hill and “Pras” Michel — fans may wonder if it really isn’t just another Fugees album. Wyclef explains that the Fugees are “ultimately about family,” one he naturally turned to for help on an album that he nonetheless describes as “very personal.” Indeed, Jean, who calls himself “the hip-hop Amadeus,” handled all the production himself, styled hip-hop versions of the Latin standard “Guantanamera” and the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” and enlisted help from the New York Philharmonic and Celia Cruz. “It’s kinda like a Fugees album,” says Jean, “but it’s mine.”