Wyclef Jean feat. Paul Simon

Fast Car -- dir. Allan Smithee

You know you’re going to like the video for Wyclef’s new single “Fast Car” when it starts with an audio clip from his “Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill),” a subtle reminder that Wyclef’s “Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant” album is just so good.

“Fast Car” has a video game theme and serves partially as an extended ad for the Sony Playstation. Wyclef is a driver in a game played by a little kid, and the graphics are punctuated by floating cartoons and scenes of a woman crossing the street with her young daughter—ostensibly characters the kid should avoid hitting while driving.

The best scenes in “Fast Car” are the ones in which Wyclef, singing in his billowing white shirt, is reminiscent of Michael Jackson in his “Will You Be There” video from “Free Willy.” The allusion to MJ in WJ’s video just warms my heart. But there are plenty of scenes in which Jean apes your typical gangsta rapper, driving a bright yellow sports car from three feet behind the wheel and wearing thugged-out glasses that are more Kanye than they are Wyclef. It’s a nice change to see Wyclef trading in his dreads for a little bling, especially since this video is easier to follow than the “Sweetest Girl” clip, which (sort of) told the story of a girl in a refugee camp who Wyclef wants to rescue from inexplicable but imminent deportation.

My only beef with the “Fast Car” video is that Paul Simon, featured on this track, is completely MIA. Part of the appeal of big-name collaborations is seeing both artists performing side-by-side, and while it’s true that Simon doesn’t add all that much to the song, it would be nice to see a cameo, however brief, in the video. But Wyclef is pretty baller on his own, so I can’t say that I have much to complain about.

— Anjali Motgi