Shyne Finds New Life In Jerusalem, Talks New Album

Because we know you were wondering what Shyne was up to these days, Dina Kraft and the New York Times recently caught up with him in his new home of Jerusalem. In addition to praying daily, Moses Levi (no longer Jamal Barrow) is studying Torah and connecting with Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish community…and releasing a new album on Def Jam in March. Maybe he made up with L.A. Reid? Apparently, his strict brand of orthodox Judaism is what he needs:

“What Mr. Levi has moved on to since being released from prison last year is a life in which he is often up at daybreak, wrapping his arms with the leather straps of tefillin, the ritual boxes containing Torah verses worn by observant Jews for morning prayers. Throughout the day he studies with various strictly Orthodox rabbis.

“What are the laws?” he said, explaining his decision to adhere to the Orthodox level of observance. “I want to know the laws. I don’t want to know the leniencies. I never look for the leniencies because of all of the terrible things I’ve done in my life, all of the mistakes I’ve made.”

After serving 10 years for a crime he may or may not have committed, a stronger approach to order is understandable to prevent backsliding, but how does this affect the music? Probably no more “Bang” and “Bad Boy” tales of crime life, but more of reflection:

“Later, with Mr. Goldsmith in the rental car he uses to get around, Mr. Levi sampled tracks from two new albums, “Messiah” and “Gangland,” that he said are to be released by Def Jam Records in March. He put the volume on high as he drove through the traffic-clogged roads of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood.

In songs like “Am I a Sinner?” he casts his spiritual quest as an escape from prison life and pain, with lyrics like, “Look in your soul and you will find vision that you can’t see through the eye.”

Maybe Shyne, Matisyahu and Y-Love can cut a posse track to shine more light on the number of minorities who follow orthodox Judaism and their influence? Rappers “finding religion” after prison isn’t a new story, so our hopes is that Shyne uses this second chance and renewed spirituality to the fullest. But due to his deportation, which he is trying to appeal, don’t expect to see him in a Kosher deli in Brooklyn anytime soon.

Full Article: Shyne Finds Order in Orthodox Judaism in Israel

image: Ricki Rosen for The New York Times

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