John Forte reflected on the moment in an interview with Talib Kweli.
In 2017, a video of a cypher between Yasiin Bey, DMX, Big Pun, Canibus, Mic Geronimo and John Forte from 1997 surfaced on YouTube. Now, in a recent interview with Talib Kweli, Forte reminisced on a moment some call “the most legendary cypher of all time.”
Appearing on Kweli’s People’s Party podcast, Forte is asked to describe the moment, to which he replied: “I didn’t realize how important that moment would be.”
“That moment is like listening to Stretch and [Bobbito], and hearing Big L and Jay-Z rhyme. It’s one of those moments from that era,” Kweli responded.
“We were hanging out but we were learning. We were getting lifted but we were getting inspired…and teaching and learning about our own strengths and our own capabilities to contribute,” Forte said elsewhere during the conversation. “So that moment of sitting around with Toure interviewing us, didn’t really strike me as profound until I saw people tagging me in the video and they’re tagging the video [on social media].”
The video began as a roundtable discussion with journalist Toure before turning into a cypher. As Hip-Hop Universe (the channel that uploaded the cypher to YouTube) noted, the freestyles from Bey, DMX, Big Pun and Canibus all appeared on respective tracks from the rappers.
During his interview with Kweli, Forte also spoke about becoming head of A&R during the earliest stages of Rawkus Records, helping produce The Fugees’ final album The Score, and more.