Rapper/producer John Forte, who was recently pardoned by George Bush, has written an article for former New Yorker editor Tina Brown's website, Daily Beast. The story, entitled, 'How I Went From Prep School to Prison,' describes the rapper/producer's childhood in Brownsville, Brooklyn, likening his experience to growing up in Beirut.

"I remember sitting on my bedroom floor in our second-story apartment watching the evening news. The scenes of violence in Beirut (even in snowy black and white) were enough to leave a deep impression on my young psyche. How can people live there? I wondered. Why don't they move? Later that night, I would lay awake in bed, numb to the gunfire just outside my window, counting the shots like sheep."

Forte, who was placed in gifted classes in second grade, went on to study at prestigious preparatory school, Philips Exeter Academy, in New Hampshire. Then, despite attending NYU, where his freshman roommate was Talib Kweli, and landing both a recording contract and production on a Grammy-award-winning album ('The Score'), Forté ended up in jail.

"Today, in my attempts at regaining my footing-reconnecting with friends and family, learning the new technologies which have arisen in my absence, helping to deter young people from making the same mistakes that led to my incarceration-I recognize the blessing of reflection and the responsibility of voice. And after all of the searching, something deep within keeps returning me to Brownsville, Brooklyn, where it all began."

Continue reading the article here. It's well worth your time.