Home EDITORIAL The Rise & Quick Fall of Jamal “Shyne” Barrow

The Rise & Quick Fall of Jamal “Shyne” Barrow

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What comes to mind at the slight mention of Shyne these days? It certainly wouldn’t be one identical to the man in the image above. The one time promising star had a future in the rap business when he was then signed to Bad Boy Entertainment, and had the streets buzzing with his single “Bad Boy”, which featured Barrington Levy. Of course as we all know, one night out with his boss Diddy and then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez would change his life and career for good..actually, for worse

You see, Shyne arrived at an awkward time. It was right before the whole Def Jam takeover started to whine down, and we were suddenly approaching the new millennium without a new breakout hip hop artist. Shyne was supposed to be THAT guy. I mean don’t get me wrong, at that time the reign of Eminem was not letting up anytime soon, we had Jay-Z still coming into his own, DMX, troubled, but still genius, and Ja Rule was relatively new, but was rapidly building a fan base with his Murder Inc. imprint. Following his now infamous pattern, it seems as though Diddy ceased that moment where we seemed to be in need, and in comes Shyne. He was first noticed in 1997 by DJ Clark Kent and had contributed to some Bad Boy artists’ work including Mase’s second album Double Up, but it was his first mainstream single “Bad Boy” that people took notice. The reggae feel paired with his gritty lyrics and tough guy persona, seemed to be a winning formula and was a breath of fresh air. 

We are all familiar with what ensues next right? rapper hits the town with mogul and his famous girlfriend late December of 99, there’s commotion, rapper lets off fire in the club, all parties go to trial, mogul gets off scott free and leaves rapper to do a ten year bid. Sounds about right? well that’s exactly what happened. Seemingly, Shyne’s career was over before it started. His self titled debut album hit stores in September of 2000 after being convicted in June of the same year. The album did pretty well but suffered only due to his inability to promote it. No surprise there though right? But let’s fast forward a bit:

Shyne ends up serving 9 years and literally the whole time he was serving his sentence there was bidding wars over him. He finally makes it home and accepts a 3 million dollar contract from Def Jam. Word Def Jam?? So you guys giving out contracts just off buzz alone huh? cool. Well to all of our surprise, Shyne hops on a few remixes as a way to reintroduce himself to the public and they all unanimously sucked! His voice wasn’t the same, he sounded uninspired and fucking homeless! here’s the word straight from his sorry mouth:

“People want that shit but i can’t give it to them in the old way…I’m no fucking magician. You gotta make that shit..it’s about character and integrity..I don’t care if I sell one album”

What the hell are you talking about? I felt for the guy when he was first released and understandly so, he was upset with Diddy for leaving him for dead. Then he had everyone scratching there heads when he suddenly embraced Jewish roots and changed his name to Moses Levi. Oh and THEN he decides to stop bad mouthing Diddy and actually reconcile which is all good, cause who wouldn’t be in support of a little peace? Months later, this happens:

So did it just hit him or something how much he looked like a sucker in the first place? Oh and if you think these words weren’t accompanied by a diss track aimed at Diddy to which I will spare your ears, you thought wrong. It bothers me that the artist that was invested in decided to do a complete 180. The guy they invested so much time in, was Shyne of 99-2000 which is their fault. Shyne isn’t at fault for being cold garbage at the moment, Def Jam wanted him simply because of what he COULD’VE done, not what he did. Everytime I waist money on something, I get a mental picture of myself opening my window, and throwing money out of it. That’s what Def Jam did. Except..it was three million dollars. Suddenly, I feel much better about wasting that dollar and 98 cents I spent on the new Iced Coffee at Dunkin Donuts.