“When we was comin’ up in the late ‘80s / early ‘90s, you had to be at the roller rink, that’s where it went down,” says Wyclef Jean in the latest episode of Off The Record. “You showed up with your skates, your Afro, and you’re learning how to skate backwards.” He channeled those vibes into this ‘Carnival’ single, built around a sample of the Bee Gees disco smash “Stayin’ Alive.”

“Coming from Haiti and landing in America, I was obsessed with the ‘Saturday Night Fever’ movie—with the white suit and the whole joint,” Clef confesses. “That song just took me back to my hood, like Marlboro Projects. Like an immigrant, landing, ‘Ooh, ‘Saturday Night Fever!’ Good Stuff!”

“I wanted the sample to dominate, just the breakbeat,” the multiplatinum producer explains of the joint that also features fellow Fugee Pras Michel and John Forte. “That’s really the whole record. And then I painted a lot of vocals around it. “You know how the kids be like doing ‘mumble rap.’ That sort of was mumble rap. I wasn’t saying much back then, but that was swag.”


Wyclef Jean – We Tryin to Stayin Alive

Drew Pierce

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