I recall in 1998 turning on MTV in the UK and seeing John Forte's "Flash The Message" video. My reaction toward the song was so so, and I didn't really have much interest in looking into his debut album "Poly Sci." Forte's affiliation with The Fugees was used to promote him, unfortunately though, it didn't quite do the job that Columbia had intended for it to.
Now, based upon the few tracks I'd heard (the most famous of which being "Flash The Message"), I wasn't too excited or optimistic as to the level of quality that I'd see on "I, John." When you enter something with low expectations and are overwhelmed by the sheer brilliance of what you're met with, you end up being somewhat pleased to say the least. With this release, I was expecting tacky rap with simple catchy hooks. Instead, I was met with very well written lyrics, beautifully sung and performed sitting atop cleverly mixed production.
The album doesn't begin with its best track, but 'What A Difference' establishes John's lyricism. His performance isn't as stellar as showcased upon other tracks, but his words are. From 'Harmonize' onwards, we bear witness to some of my favourite songs of recent months. 'What You're Used To' is a mellow track with a deep undertone dictated by a simple beat and guitar riff. The lyrics and hook work wonderfully. 'All The Pretty People' see's a very somber mood, and a song discussing the worth of physical definitions and where we all fit in. 'How Could I?' is another gem. Along with Esthero, Forte sings about relationships in an intelligent manner. 'Reunion' is yet another priceless track.
"I, John" isn't solely on an Rn'B/sung vibe. The lead single, which grew on me, but never really managed to impress me as much as the other songs; 'Trouble Again' featuring Tricky was an odd Reggae/Rock vibe. 'Been There, Done That' comes along with an energetic rock vibe amidst normal laidback singing. 'Beware' has ragga vibes running rugged, and works nicely too.
There aren't any bad tracks upon Forte's "I, John" album, but there are those which don't stand out as much or provoke much of a reaction from the listener.
After a hugely shocking conviction for elaborate drug trafficking, and a hefty sentence handed down. Things weren't looking good for John Forte in his artistic endeavors. But, this album is one which I'd definitely be proud of being known for. Quality music. Here's looking forward to the next Forte release...whenever that may emerge.