There was a surprising bit of hip-hop news in the wave of pardonings and sentence commutations that accompany any president getting ready to depart office: Former Wyclef Jean sidekick John Forté received a reduction on his 14-year sentence for drug charges.
Proving it always helps to have attended an elite East Coast prep school, John Forté’s famous friends–Carly Simon and her son Ben Taylor, whose cousin was a classmate of Forté’s at Phillips Exeter–campaigned on his behalf, claiming that his trial for accepting a suitcase containing $1.4 million worth of liquid cocaine wasn’t fair because of mandatory minimum sentences for drug cases.
Pre-incarceration, Forté was probably best known for his verse on Wyclef’s “Stayin’ Alive” remake, “We Trying To Stay Alive”:
His solo album bombed, but that might have been partially due to the Wyclef overload felt by the world at the time. Forté bounced back with a pre-prison indie release (featuring Carly Simon!) that wasn’t bad. Post-incarceration life hasn’t always been the greatest for rappers, but here’s hoping for the best for Forté, who should be free before the end of the year.