Rapper reclaiming his ‘Shyne’

Saturday, July 30, 2016

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THE recently concluded Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay focused on promoting local talent and music. This was achieved to a major extent until singer Barrington Levy introduced former Bad Boy Records rapper, Shyne to the stage.

Back in the late 1990s, Levy and the Belizean-born Shyne collaborated on Bad Boy.

However, Shyne’s ascent was halted in 1999 when a shooting incident in a New York nightclub saw him being charged and sentenced for nearly nine years. Son of Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Shyne (real name is Jamal Barrow), would spend close to nine years incarcerated in a US prison. Since his 2009 release, he has been very low-keyed, but the rapper says he is ready to return to the spotlight.

"I took my time approaching making another album, ‘cause it’s all about inspiration... I’ve got to be inspired. I believe that I’ve done such great work that I can’t just come back and do anything mediocre, anything sub par. Reggae music, dancehall music inspires me. I started with Barrington Levy. Now I see Drake and Rihanna doing their thing and I love it, Justin Bieber. But I just want to get back where I started. So I am ready to do an album — reggae and dancehall. I am looking at the best 10 artistes. People like Popcaan and we are trying to make a link with Kartel," he told the Jamaica Observer.

His time in prison allowed the 38-year-old the time to reflect and he stresses that young artistes need to understand how to manage their success in order to make the right decisions.

"Barrington Levy has a song that says it takes a lifetime to make a billion dollars and a split second to lose it. You just have to be very careful with the choices you make. It’s a very, very complicated situation when young men come from the gutter; they come from nothing, with nothing to live for and then they have this gift of music and become successful at it. How do you manage that? There is no light switch that goes on and off. That’s one of the things I’d like to give to the younger artistes coming up. You’ve gotta understand that in a split second you can lose it all."

Shyne encouraged youngsters in the business to read and be informed on all aspects of the music industry.

Meanwhile, in addition to working on the album, the rapper is spreading his wings.

"I am also working on a bio-documentary with Universal Pictures on my life. You will see people like Puff and Jay-Z in it... all the people that I’ve worked with and those who have influenced me. There is also a soundtrack for this project that I am also working on. I am also writing my book — a biography. So you’ll see a lot of me in the next 12 to 24 months."

— Richard Johnson


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