Shyheim: The Man In The Mirror

A lot has changed in the life of Wu affiliate Shyheim since he first debuted on the scene. At the age of fourteen, his precious antics matched with his innocent face captured the hearts of Hip-Hop heads and teen girls everywhere. After releasing his debut album The Lost Generation and performing countless guest spots along side Hip-Hop legends, it was destined that the young MC was destined to reach new heights. After dropping three consecutive successful albums, it seemed that the “rugged child” had it all, but after facing gun charges and being on the run for two years before serving a two year bid, it turned out to be more to Shyheim than met the eye. Now after releasing his fourth album and out on the street for one year AllHipHop.com got a chance to speak with the rejuvenated entrepreneur about his business plans, his new album, life and lessons learned. It’s been a long road but nothing that the Staten Island native couldn’t handle. With a new daughter to keep him focused, he is out to prove to the industry, that there is nothing more intimidating than a hungry MC.

AllHipHop.com: What’s been up since we last spoke to you?

Shyheim: I have been spending time with my daughter and getting my artists together, really just taking care of the business side of things.

AllHipHop.com: What happened to the online reality show?

Shyheim: It was time consuming. Trying to do it with the cameras following me everywhere as well as with the nine o’clock curfew was hard. I felt like I was trying to do everything at one time, with releasing the album, The Greatest Story Never Told, and the show it was a little overwhelming. So I decided to put it on hold. I am definitely going to pick it back up, I think that once I really get out there and reach the masses and really build the fan base up, I will take it there and really focus on the show. Sorry to all those out there who was checking for it on the site.

AllHipHop.com: Before Bow-Wow, Romeo, J-Kwon, and all the “kid rappers,” you out there rapping and acting; do you feel that being in the industry at such a young age molded some of the decisions you made?

Shyheim: Truthfully when I came into [the game] my life was speeding already, [being in entertainment] just helped speed it up even further beyond my years. But if I could do it all over again I would definitely go to school and graduate college with a degree in the business, so I would know what I was talking about [back then]. Instead I went backwards and got my experience through trials and tribulations to get the experience of the business.

AllHipHop.com: Although your last album was successful with no promotion, do you feel that being on parole is hindering your career?

Shyheim: It really hinders me a lot, because a lot of people don’t want that negativity. I mean yeah I got caught up in it living two lives. But with the charges I got, no one is going to want that type of dude around them knowing I got charged with armed robbery. You got thousands of dollars worth of jewels on you because they think I might snap and be like, “F**k it! I’m going to take your jewels if things don’t go my way.” I ain’t going to front though, because I have felt that way a lot of times but then I think about what I went through and snap back to reality.

AllHipHop.com: What do you feel the industry fears the most with your return?

Shyheim: You look at some of these dudes in the industry walking around with houses on they neck and they face screwed up. I have to stop myself from thinking like, “I’ll take ya s**t right now and if I don’t have it on me and don’t get caught, all you can do is testify.” But for the sake of my daughter, I just leave those types of people alone because they really be testing me. If I could change anything [in the industry] I would make sure that people are being them and I mean the real them. If you a square dude who has never been in the ‘hood but you respect our struggle, then I have no choice but to respect you for doing your thing. But if you a wanna be thug walking around like you from the ‘hood and you not, you going to have problems because people going to try and test you on that.

AllHipHop.com: With that being said, how do you feel about the over glamorization of negativity in the industry?

Shyheim: I think the reason it’s so successful is because there are more ignorant people than smart people, so it goes to show you that a lot of people are ignorant in our community. And the school systems aren’t teaching the kids anything so all they can go off of is what they see and hear. So when they hear someone like Mos [Def] or [Talib] Kweli, it’s not that they don’t like it, they just don’t understand it.

AllHipHop.com: Where do you feel you fit in the equation?

Shyheim: I feel that I am border line, because I got my times where I talk about street s**t, but then I flip and say but these are the consequences if you go this route. But what I noticed that when I’m not rhyming about the reality of the streets as far as consequences that follow the negative actions, no one wants to hear it, but if I come out talking about, yeah nigga I’ll stab you in the face, it’s acceptable.

AllHipHop.com: How has your perspective changed since you have had you daughter because when AllHipHop talked to you last you had new found perspective because you were 46 days out, now it’s been a year and a half…?

Shyheim: She has helped me really put things into perspective as far as thinking about other people. Don’t get me wrong if I was making 20 million, I would ball ‘till I fall [laughs], but right now I am well to do, you know and much more focused on providing what’s right for my daughter.

AllHipHop.com: Will your newfound perspective come through on your new album?

Shyheim: My new album which is called Featuring My F*cking Self, will reflect being back in the free world. The Greatest Story Never Told was written entirely while I was incarcerated, so I was real in depth with my thoughts and my feelings because I was into it. But now it’s back to being on the grind, being block with cats and being at parties and chilling with girls. It’s really two different lives. Now I am able to talk about the different things I see out here on the street versus just spreading the knowledge that I read.

AllHipHop.com: Last we spoke to you, you explained the Wu-Tang situation as business but fam, with RZA starting his new label, would you consider doing a joint venture?

Shyheim: You know it’s funny, RZA’s my man, he taught me a lot and gave me a lot; but what I want out of life he ain’t going to give it to me. I know the game and I know too much to really work under him. Right now I feel that it’s time for me to shine on my own, you know. No disrespect because I will definitely still support.

AllHipHop.com: Are you planning on doing any collabos with Meth or anyone, because I heard that you were supposed to be linking up with Mathematics and Soloman for a project…

Shyheim: Word, I didn’t know that. [laughs] I mean I heard they were linking up to do a R. Diggs project with Math and Soloman, so maybe they have me in mind, but I haven’t confirmed anything. But hell yeah if the paper is right, I’m going to be right there because I definitely believe in getting paid my worth you know. I mean I have to eat, you know I have a daughter to feed. As far as collabos go, naw. My next album is going to be me solo, that’s why it’s titled Featuring My F*cking Self.

AllHipHop.com: I hear that Jay is really trying to build up a tight label over at Def Jam, calling out to all the old school artists…

Shyheim: Man, that’s f**ked up, because I aint old school.[laughs] I am just a young n***a that was hanging out with the old school cats. Tell Jay that you can still catch me on the block. I’m for real though, Jay need to holla at me or any exec that can see my vision.

AllHipHop.com: We know you have worked with Biggie and ‘Pac, but what’s up with the Big L tat on your neck?

Shyheim: Well Big L was my mans, you know we did the collabo on my Man Childalbum, but before that I knew him before then, you know back when Hip-Hop was Hip-Hop. Big L was a cool dude who was never on no superstar s**t, we used to chill out and smoke in his hood, there was never no problems. But he is one of those artists who I feel never got his just due, so I got his name tattooed on my neck to show people that as I rise he will be right there, I am making sure that no one forgets him.

AllHipHop.com: What would you like to say to the fans?

Shyheim: That I’m me, I’m a real easy guy you aint got to be a rider for me to kick it with you. I want to say thanks for the love and if you like my album, support it. I would say call the radio station but they won’t play it because I’m not getting extorted. Go to the Itunes and download the album The Greatest Story Never Told. For people and promoters trying to get at me, business only, email me at bottomupembassy@yahoo.com and to all the crazy niggas out there, don’t play on my s**t, because I will change my s**t. Don’t hit me up with the crazy s**t talking about, “Remember me,” because I probably won’t. [laughs]

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