Fresh from making his Dubai debut at People by Crystal, the Fugees founder and Ghetto Superstar, 40, chats politics, pirates and reunions with Rob Garratt.
In 2009 you claim you were kidnapped off the coast of Africa while shooting a yet-to-be-released documentary on Somali pirates. What on earth made you want to go out and film there?
I just wanted to go meet some pirates, man, I had no idea how dangerous it really was. Luckily for me I got out of it unharmed, but it was a great experience. I live for experience. It’s that moment when you go through a period of stupidity. I mean how stupid was I? But I guess my innocence is what protected me. If I go back and try it again, I’ll probably die.
Before that you’ve got another documentary coming out this year about the 2011 Haiti election, Sweet Micky For Prezidan. What made you want to get into that?
I’m Haitian, and I felt that after the earthquake something had to be done. I went to my friend [former musician and now president] Michel Martelly and said: ‘Man, you should run for president’. We started a campaign, and a couple of weeks before we register we find out [former Fugees bandmate and cousin] Wyclef [Jean] was running.
A lot of people were surprised you didn’t back your cousin at that point. How are you two getting on now?
We’re great now – at the time it was war. That’s what politics does to you.
Would you ever go into politics yourself?
No, I’m too progressive. I could not get elected.
After Fugees you took a step back, while Wyclef and Lauren Hill took the limelight.
It’s not something that I did consciously, it just happened like that. But now things are starting to change, I got a new project coming out [in August] and I think it’s going to do very well. I always felt everything was meant to be the way that it happened, and there’s a reason that it happened.
It seems like the 2004 Fugees reunion is one thing that people regret happening.
It didn’t happen though. We did some shows – but it really didn’t happen. A true reunion is when you do an album, and that’s what people really wanted – finish off The Score. And that was in the works, it just never transpired.
So could it ever happen?
The greatest teacher is experience, and from experience I’ve learned not to ever say never. So I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. My daddy used to say ‘tomorrow is never promised to you, so what you don’t know is bigger than you’. So it may. Who knows?
Any other message for your fans in Dubai?
I want to thank the fans – I appreciate being out here, in Dubai, I think it’s one of the greatest cities in the world. Very crazy, so crazy it’s not even real. But still it exists. I’ve been coming for close to ten years; vacation, friends, just passing through. It’s a very interesting city, man. Every time I come I think to myself, most cities around the world could have been like this. This place is the epitome – without all the ostentatious that comes along with it, this should be a blueprint of how every city in the world should be.