John Forté
Name of Album: i, John
Ratings: Personal - 5 General - 5
Release Date: April 23, 2002

Impressive. That is the first thing I thought when I heard “What A Difference A Day Makes,” the first track on John Forté’s sophmore album i, John. Most rap these days rides on either shocking its audience with rough and tumble lyricism or a hoarse voice, Forté rhymes with a certain sweet sophistication. Perhaps, his unique style of streetwise harmony stems from his paradoxical experience as a violinist or and as a student of the school of hard knocks.

The album actually ends up being a production of pretty sweet sorrow, considering that this artist is currently behind bars, awaiting his appeal of a drug possession conviction, serving a 14-year sentence in Texas.

The second entry on this album, Harmonize, has a tinge of reggae beat in it. Maybe it was John’s dreds that influenced this perception, or the strain in his voice that reminded me of Marley and his Three Birds or Woman No Cry.

"Beware" reminds me quite a bit of Prince and his last album "rainbow children," as well as Around The World In A Day. I liked the sampling of what sounds like (Southeast Asian) Indian lyrics.

Forte, also pulls out an impressive array of guest appearances on this album calling upon Dinah Washington, Carly Simon, and others like Tricky, Esthero, and Jeni Fujita.

Overall, "i, John," is a recommended buy for its value on a variety of levels. So, don't wait for John to come home to buy it, for your purchase might just convince the review board of the merit for the early release of an artist who has definitely demonstrated his cultural worth with this latest production.