As Shyne continues to balance street raps with Judaism, SOHH recently reached out to Muslim emcee Hasan Salaam to get his opinion the ex-Bad Boy’s new, righteous road.
As a lyricist who also spits religious themes within his bars, Salaam believes hip-hop has always maintained a lane for artists to speak on beliefs without hurting their image.
“It’s funny because I was actually listening to [Shyne’s 2004 album] Godfather Buried Alive the other day,” Hasan told SOHH. “I think we’ve always had certain reflections and messages in the music that had some religious tones to it. I think whatever makes somebody a better person in this world that we’re living in that has so much bullsh*t, that helps you cut through that, I think whether it’s Islam or Judaism or Buddhism or Christianity, whatever the case is, it should be reflected in somebody’s music. I feel that for me, the music is honest. It’s who I am. If I didn’t speak about the Bible or the Qur’an, or any other book I’ve read, or any other situation I’ve been in, it wouldn’t be real.” (SOHH)
He also believes the rap genre specifically stresses artists to be honest with themselves and to the fans.
“I think there’s always room for [honesty], especially in hip-hop,” Hasan added. “Good hip-hop is honest. So you’ll get a Rakim. You’ll get cats speaking on that knowledge right there. Even the Fugees used to [use] a lot of different religious references and things like that. There’s so many different emcees that I can think of. It’s always been a part of hip-hop. The church has always been a strong staple in our community.” (SOHH)
A few weeks ago, Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu spoke on Shyne’s new direction.
“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 November, Shyne discussed maintaining his street credibility while now 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 some recent Shyne footage below: