The hype surrounding Shyne has dwindled but the rapper –still serving a 10-year jail bid – has thoughts on everything from the presidential election to 50 Cent to life behind bars. Still seeking an appeal for a first-degree assault conviction, here is what’s going on with Jamal Barrow.
AllHipHop.com: Lets talk politics. Any thoughts?
Shyne: Bush [is] trying to hold on to be still the President. He had misled the country into going in to war in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction and there was no weapons and capturing Saddam. Now the country is in turmoil and troops are losing there lives for a war we didn’t need to going into. He just wanted to go into Iraq to get oil not to liberate the Iraqi people from the Iraqi regime.
AllHipHop.com: People know your gangsta side, but what’s up with your more positive side?
Shyne: I did a public announcement on TV to get people to register to vote, a scholarship thing on BET.com, and I’d rather give opportunity to the youth to achieve higher goals.
AllHipHop.com: Mark Walhberg, Marky Mark, doing a documentary on you, right?
Shyne: He’s Mark Walberg now, man. He’s making 20 mil a flick. He ain’t no rapper, he’s an Oscar nominated Hollywood bigwig. We actually producing a documentary together based on me, a bio-doc. This s**t is actually a venture, too. With a film company, so that’s 50/50 right there with my film company called 13 Films. I’m not just a producer, we got a partnership with that. We gonna put out other movies as well.
AllHipHop.com: Are people gonna see the inside of your current situation when they get into this? Will they see some of the things that we aren’t able to see?
Shyne: Yeah. As far as the bio-doc, absolutely.
Shyne: AllHipHop.com: How did the prisoners treat you? Rappers get treated in various ways when they go behind bars, how did they treat you?
Shyne: Well, I’m not rapper and I’m not here for raping nobody. I’m not no child molester. Because that’s when you going to have a problem when you come in here. If you’re a rapo [rapist], if you a molesto [molester], then you’re a rat. Or you a homo. Those is the four no-no’s. I’m none of those, and more important, I’m the exact opposite. I blazed my ratchet, I kept my mouth shut. So I didn’t come in here as no rapper. My bodyguard wasn’t the one that had the ratchet and I got a charge so I could be on the cover of the newspaper. They understood how real the situation was, they watched it on TV.
Shyne: And they saw how I dealt with that, so they didn’t look at as Shyne, they looked at me as the dude that was facing 25 years just like they was. Who kept his mouth shut just like they did. And whose co-defendant snitch on them just like me. And when I came in here, you know, Yeah, you know, it’s Shyne, but it was more than that. They just finished watching a movie, and they just finished seeing how I handled that thing, and they understood, like, He let his thing go off. And obviously when I came in here first, anybody that stepped out of line, I let my thing go off then, too. So I set the precedent. Word got around quickly: Yo leave [Shyne] alone. He gonna let his thing go off. But
Shyne: I’m a humble dude, I wasn’t trying to prove no points. But once I let my thing go off here, and they knew I let my thing go off out on the town, it was like, Okay, he is what he is, so lets rock. I don’t do drugs. That’s where the problems come. Homos, drugs, if you a rat, if you a rapo, that’s when you gonna have problems. If you ain’t none of those things and you an honorable dude, you ain’t gonna have no problems.
AllHipHop.com: Have you changed religion?
Shyne: No, I have always been Hebrew. My great-grandmother is an Ethiopian Jew. That’s my heritage.
AllHipHop.com: Do you still keep in touch with Conrad Muhammad, the Hip-Hop minister? He seemed to be a person that took a genuine interest in you during the early period when you were first going in.
Shyne: I speak to him every now and then, you know. He was a friend of a friend. I didn’t really know him, and he just saw what was going on and he felt nobody was standing up for me. Everybody was talking about the other guy and he just felt that I needed some support. But that had nothing to do with religion. I didn’t really know him. I stayed in touch with him, obviously he’s been concerned, but I really don’t speak to very many people, but I definitely speak to him every now and then.
AllHipHop.com: I spoke to Chaz from Blackhand Entertainment; he said he spoke to you, but has anybody else come forward to support you, or written you, or anything like that.
Shyne: I mean, you know, just the rap songs to me was good enough. Whether it be Kanye when he go on 106 & Park, talking about Free Shyne, had the whole audience saying Free Shyne. Whether it be M.O.P. rapping about me, or little homey [Juelz] Santana rap about me. Whether it be Suge [Knight] going on the radio saying he trying to sign me. Or Irv, or whoever, I don’t think you get any more support than that. I don’t know if you read the VIBE, but you had M1 in there talking about me from dead prez. Across the board, man, it’s been tremendous. Whether it be XXL giving me a tribute cover, which they only do for Big and Pac. I’ve never seen this type of support for a dude that’s still alive.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have any thoughts on Anthony Wolf’s [P.Diddy’s bodyguard] murder?
Shyne: That was my brother, but that’s the life we live. And God decides when we gonna lose that battle and when its time to move on from this planet. I attribute it to that. Nobody is gonna live forever. He lived his. He laid a lot of things down, and he did it. He enjoyed his life. My selfishness would have wanted me to be out there so we could some fun together, but that’s not my decision, man. That’s God’s decision.
AllHipHop.com: Do you know what happened with Scar [the man who was the adversary in the shooting]? Is he still alive?
Shyne: I don’t even know, bruh.
AllHipHop.com: Do you hear the current Hip-Hop, rap music and stuff that’s going on in the industry?
Shyne: I don’t watch TV.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of you appeal is the authenticity, but do you feel that a lot of people are getting over with images that may not be real?
Shyne: For me, good music is good music. That’s what was so funny about the boo-boo kid [50 Cent]. I was happy for him. It didn’t matter to me if he was real. Cause he could be no realer than what I live with everyday. There’s nothing realer than what I could through everyday. So for me, when I look at music, there’s nothing that could impress me. It was just a matter even though you might be talking about my life its how you sell it. If you convince the rest of these fools, man, more power to you. And the songs he made were hot. That’s really all muthaf***as care about. They’ll love you more if you authentic, but they’ll still love you even if they know that something fishy about you. That’s just the way it is. I don’t think a n***a got to be a tough guy to be hot, man. It does help if that’s what you gonna rap about to have some experience. But I don’t think you gotta be a tough guy. It would help if muthaf***as just rapped the raps, talk about something else. But everyone wants to talk about being a gangster and being a mobster. But more power to them if they get over. I really don’t care. I’m just focused on what I need to do and where I need to put my thing down. I understand everybody can’t be me.
AllHipHop.com: Well, a lotta people would have a problem doing a 10-year bid. You are looking for an appeal, but what if you don’t get it?
Shyne: I mean, four years ago seemed like a long term. This ain’t my world. I didn’t create this universe, so I don’t call the shots. I just got to roll out. You know, its been pretty good to me, man four years later, not talking, I didn’t say a word for 4 years. Some people thought I was crazy. It was like, “How you not gonna say nothing for 4 years?” Ain’t nobody gonna know you. Now I’m one of the most known brands. Like Dr. Dre and Eminem, I’m right up there. I look at my history and have the greatest hopes for my future. If I didn’t put out an album for 4 years and now I’m putting one out, that gives me another four years. Regardless of what happens, right? But anything can happen. And I don’t live my life like, I got to be a superstar, I got to be doing movies. It Don’t have to be. Nothing is promised to me. This [life] ain’t mine, bruh. I lease it,
I rent it, and I’ma enjoy it while I got it and when its gone, you know, hey, bye-bye.