John Forte may have been broken but the MC is putting the pieces back together. Last night, the former collaborator and co-writer with the Fugees, who served over half of a 14-year sentence for drug possession, performed songs from his new seven-track EP StyleFREE.
The intimate affair made up of fairly wealthy, New York socialists and some D-List celebs, was held in the penthouse suite of the Cooper Square Hotel in support of Music Unites, a non-profit organization that supports music education in inner cities.
Perched on a stool in a small corner with panoramic views of the New York City skyline serving as the backdrop, Forte delivered introspective lyrics and candid thoughts about life.
Glancing at his set list scribbled on a paper napkin, Forte strummed his acoustic guitar, moving effortlessly between quiet rhymes and raspy sung verses. In addition to admitting an old school tryst with Lauryn Hill, Forte offered up his life experiences to the crowd. Some of the night’s best quotes went like this:
“Normally I have an elevated stool with my beverages because I suffer from horrible, horrible cotton mouth,” Forte said, taking a violent swig of Stella Artois beer. “Not because I’m taking any sort of chemicals that would give me cotton mouth. Seriously, I am on supervised release so that’s not even an option.”
Forte smiled sheepishly and said after singing a note in “Breaking of a Man” off key, “That’s the beauty of being a singer-songwriter. You can hit an obvious bad note and just embrace it man. It’s meant to be.”
“14 years in the feds for tryna cop me a label,” he rhymes in a prelude to “Life Has Just Begun.” “So when the gates opened early, just guitar on track. Life is just begun. I’m back.”
Check out a short clip of John Forte’s performance