Former Bad Boy Records’ artist Shyne has opened up about how he views himself within the music industry and why he refuses to be considered an ordinary rapper.
According to Shyne, he sees himself being compared amongst the likes of music greats.
‘His thing is music. As Shyne, he has completed two unreleased albums, Gangland and Messiah. Both are rap, but “totally philosophical and sophisticated,” he says. “No misogyny. None of that deranged stuff I used to be into” a decade or so ago, as a protégé of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment. He was with Combs and his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Lopez, when the ruckus broke out in the Club New York. Combs and his bodyguard were also tried but acquitted. “I don’t even want to be a rapper,” Levi says at one point in the interview. “I don’t listen to that music. I’m a musician. I’d rather be like Bob Marley or Leonard Cohen, one of those guys.” (Global Spin)
Recently, producer Ken Lewis hit up SOHH and revealed his in-studio work for Shyne.
“I mixed like 18 songs for him and I produced the first single coming out in December,” Lewis told SOHH. “You know, when he got out, obviously the biggest thing that changed about him as an artist was his flow and he was getting hammered on the blogs for it. But I’ve got to say, I have so much respect for him for just believing in what he’s doing and not changing just because some people say he should change. Imagine if everybody said, ‘I don’t like Drake’s flow, he should change his flow.’ And then Drake changes his flow and you’re like, ‘Did Drake really change his flow because the blogs told him to?’ That would be ridiculous. Just because some people aren’t connecting with what Shyne is doing, everybody is like Shyne should change, but why? Shyne knows who his audience is. He knows who he is trying to reach. He’s trying to reach the people in the streets and the jails. Shyne doesn’t give a f*ck if the bloggers don’t like him. To me, I have a ton of respect for him for saying, ‘This is who I am now, this is what I want to do. I want this to be the best version. Love it or leave it.’ He didn’t bow to the pressure and he’s told me, ‘I don’t give a f*ck what those people say.’ Is that supposed to be a bad thing because he has integrity?” (SOHH)
With the Brooklyn rapper having subscribed to Judaism in recent years, SOHH previously hit up Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu for his take on the rapper’s conversion.
“I read the article and right away reached out to him,” Matis said referring to learning about Shyne’s newfound faith in Judaism. “I had a conversation with him and he was real cool. My feeling is that he’s [serious about his conversion]. Somehow, he really connected to this. He seems real about it and inspired when you’re talking to him — But he’s still the same guy. When you listen to him talk, when you hear him talk, you hear where he’s from. He didn’t change who he is. I’m sure he changed his lifestyle and a lot of things but I went through a very similar process, so I respect that a lot. I think it could be really good for Jewish people for him to do something like that. I think he can be an inspiration. He’ll be in New York soon…Definitely [expect a collaboration from us], we’ve already been back and forth on the e-mails. We talked about doing some shows together.” (SOHH)
Last year, Shyne discussed maintaining his street credibility while still walking a sanctified path.
“All these rules, rules, rules,” the rapper said about the strict religious requirements. “But you know what you have if you don’t have rules? You end up with a bunch of pills in your stomach.” Even though Shyne sports a Hasidic-style hat and a black jacket that hangs to his knees, the Brooklyn-raised rapper said he hasn’t lost his street cred. “There’s nothing in the Chumash [a Jewish book] that says I can’t drive a Lamborghini,” said Shyne, who was released from prison last year after serving nine years. (New York Post)
Check out a recent Shyne interview below: