Who’s this? … Sounds like a new Wyclef track. What!? … wait a second, that’s not Wyclef that’s John Forte but now he’s singing! That’s right ladies and gentlemen, John Forte the former Refugee Camp member and alleged drug smuggler has reinvented himself. Obviously, Forte was taking notes when Wyclef successfully picked up a guitar and busted out in a melody. Viewed in this context Forte’s artistical transformation might not be considered very innovative, but upon listening to I, John it’s apparent that Forte does deserve some merit. For one, I, John is a vast improvement to Forte’s disappointing debut Poly Sci despite the fact that Forte is venturing into uncharted territory. This time around the hard beats and rhymes have been traded in mostly for acoustical melodies, and Forte shows that he can carry a tune, usually. Forte uses the album opener “What A Difference” to explain the changes that his life philosophies and ideals have undergone. This track’s tempo may be laid back but the groove hits right on target, and the formula works even better on “Harmonize,” arguably the best cut on the album.
Smartly, Forte’s legal troubles do not really surface on any of the songs, a sign that he truly means to leave the past where it belongs. One of the rare instances that his personal turmoil is alluded to is on the intense “Beware” in which Forte states: ‘beware, informer walk amongst us/take care, them chat about most of us.’ There are moments when the transformation does not seem complete such as on “All The Pretty People,” “Been There, Done That,” and “Lady” in which Forte’s new style is not quite perfected. For the old Forte fans who liked his emceeing don’t despair; his raps are as good as ever on “Dearest Father” and “Trouble Again.”
You know that old proverb that says, “change is for the better?” Well I, John is one case in which that is certainly proved true.