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Former Puffy Protege Now Jewish-Ish

Rapper Shyne explains, sort of, on post-prison visit to Belize

Sara Ivry
November 04, 2009

The rapper Shyne, who was released from jail last month after serving more than eight years for his involvement in that big Puffy Combs-J.Lo-fleeing the scene back in 1999, was in his native Belize this week, where his dad is the prime minister, talking to students at a college he briefly attended in 1993. While he was in the big house, Shyne changed his legal name from Jamal Michael Barrow to Moses Michael Leviy in deference not exactly to a conversion, but, as he told listeners, to “a hereditary thing in my ancestry.” Vague as that is and with mentor Harvard University professor Charles Ogletree by his side, Shyne went on to elaborate on his decision. “I don’t want to be like Michael Jordan, I want to be like Moses or King David or King Solomon” he said. “Those are the guys that I aspire to be like. I didn’t want to be like the kingpin on my block, I want to be like the guy that part the seas.” Of course, the “guy” that parts the seas has a different name altogether—one we’re not really supposed to utter. But that’s picking nits, especially given the revelation that Shyne shared about the “the biggest king in the world,” aka King David. “You know we drive Lamborghinis and Ferraris and that’s what he did.” Royalty and rappers—they’re just like us!

Shyne Speaks [7 News Belize]

Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast. Follow her on Twitter@saraivry.