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Exclusive: John Forte to Release First Set of New Music in Eight Years

Producer/rapper/songwriter John Forte hasn’t wasted any time getting back into music since his release from prison this past December — fans can purchase ‘StyleFREE the EP’ one week from today (July 14) via Johnforte.com The BoomBox has learned. The first single, ‘Play My Cards For Me’ will be available for a free download as well. For those who would like to wait for a physical album or have some lingering iTunes credit, the set will make it to retail channels in August.

Of the seven songs on ‘StyleFREE the EP,” Forte says they were all written over the last seven and a half years while he was away, citing his work as one of the catalysts for his release. “I have been writing and producing music since I’ve been home, but the seven songs on StyleFREE the EP played a part in the catharsis that I believe ultimately led to my release,” Forte tells The BoomBox. “I kept the technology input rather simple on the EP, utilizing familiar studio techniques from days past. The process was comfortable and familiar in that regard.”

Indeed, the music within demonstrates that even though he’s been out of the limelight and the business for a majority of this decade, Forte’s ear hasn’t suffered. Nor has his ability to deliver a verse: titular track ‘StyleFREE’ and ‘Nervous’ are evidence that Forte is still just as gifted in flow as he was on ‘Poly Sci’ and ‘I, John.’ Other songs such as ‘There We Are’ and ‘Play My Cards For Me’ demonstrate a smooth blend of soul and rock — the latter of which was written while Forte was on house arrest, awaiting trial. “['Play My Cards For Me'] is about the journey of a man (in this case me), and the willingness to relinquish control to his (my) loved one in the event of his (my) demise,” he says.

Forte’s been busy in other realms, from teaching at the City College of New York, recording with Talib Kweli, signing a deal with Simon & Schuster for his memoir, and donating his time to the Harlem-based initiative “In Arms Reach,” which works with at-risk youth who have incarcerated parents. With all that, he seems to be genuinely thankful for his second chance at music. “Music is and has always been my predominant love,” he says. “I love venturing out into other professions, put my best foot forward and so on; but music is the foundation to it all. The freedom (the opportunity and the blessing) of being able to “release” something genuine in the first, the middle, and the last place.”

Look for a full length in 2010 entitled “Water, Light, Sound.”

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