What Went Right With… Shyne?

Shining text "Shyne"

Back in 1999, there was a big news story about Puff Daddy, his then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and a shooting at a Manhattan nightclub. If you recall, Bad Boy artist Shyne was charged with attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment. Puffy was at first arrested for weapons charges (and his driver was allegedly bribed to take responsibility for the gun) but Puff was later acquitted. As Nas said in his track “Purple”; “I don’t like the way P. Diddy did Shyne with different lawyers”. If you don’t remember this incident, check out this article.

It seems like everyone forgot about Shyne after this high-profile case. If I told you Shyne has since converted to Judaism, changed his name to “Moses” and is now a politician in Belize, it might sound like I made it up but you can check that shit out online. But I digress.

The Bad Boy label is now solely seen as Diddy, Biggie, and Mase, and everyone else has been disregarded by most. Just look at this bad-quality video for Shyne’s song “Bad Boyz” featuring Barrington Levy which sampled his classic track “Here I Come/Broader Than Broadway”. This was a decent hit but it doesn’t even have an official upload on Youtube…

To an outsider, after Biggie died, it seemed that Bad Boy artists like The L.O.X., G-Dep, Black Rob, and Shyne weren’t promoted as much as the company’s two golden boys, and along with Craig Mack, they’re all generally ignored whereas Biggie Smalls’ face is plastered all over tees for a generation and demographic that weren’t even present during his life. This amnesia is unfortunate because almost all of Bad Boy’s roster were talented, and even though I personally didn’t like the way the label pushed contrived Hip-Pop Jiggy-ness, they could all have easily become household names. Unfortunately, Shyne was seen by many as a bootleg-esque replacement for the Notorious B.I.G.. Even Shyne himself mentioned this in his song “Whatcha Gonna Do” (“similarities in my voice, nigga check the words”)…

Shyne’s self-titled debut album contained lots of potential hits including “Bang”, the uber-radio-friendly and typical Bad Boy-sounding “It’s OK”, “Spend Some Cheese”, and “Get Out” but weaker joints like “Bonnie & Shyne” and “That’s Gangsta” were selected to be singles which did him a disservice in my opinion. A second album titled Godfather Buried Alive (which was partly recorded from prison) was released by Def Jam because Bad Boy Entertainment released Shyne from his contract after his conviction. This LP wasn’t anything special but it contained a few tracks that showcased Shyne’s ability to create catchy Mafioso Hip-Hop.

Although not as ignored as another Diddy signee Aasim D’Xplicit, Shyne isn’t spoken about much these days. Okay, it’s not like he’s some underrated, underground hero and his verse in Lil Wayne’s “Outro” was muffled shite so it’s not like we’re missing new tracks from the bloke, but it’s still strange how music that made it into the Billboard charts is covered in dust while everybody is keeping the garbage “Bad Boys For Life” alive. Hell, you’re still probably telling yourself B.I.G.’s “Playa Hater” is a good song! Fuck that post-mortem arse-kissing. Shyne Po made at least thirteen better ones…

Once Shone.

A previously unpublished and unfinished article from 2016 with a few added sentences making it more relevant.

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