“Bad Boyz” Rapper Talks Running For Prime Minister, New Album & Calls On Rappers To Speak Out Against Police Brutality
MONTEGO BAY – He made his name as P. Diddy’s protege, with a sound that reminded fans of slain rapper Notorious BIG.
But Shyne’s life went south at the height of his career, when prosecutors accused him of shooting up a club while Diddy and then gal pal J.Lo were in tow. He was convicted of assault and later served nine years in prison.
Today, Shyne, 36, is building a new life in his native Belize, and revealed his political ambitions to run for the highest office in the country, a post that his father, the Hon. Dean Barrow, has held since 2008. BOSSIP caught up with the Brooklyn-raised rapper last weekend at the Reggae Sum Fest in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where he was part of a stellar lineup that included Beenie Man, Sanchez, Tarrus Riley and Popcaan. Shyne performed his hit “Bad Boyz” with reggae legend Barrington Levy, the first time the pair performed the song on the island.
BOSSIP: Your surprise video appearance from Belize at the Bad Boy concert in May was one of the highlights of the show. How’d you get involved?
Shyne: “It’s history. It’s my legacy. And we put it together. They sent Revolt TV to Belize, they shot the thing, in the Maya temples, which was big for me to promote Belize. Which was big for me because I live in Belize, I was born in Belize, Belize is everything to me. So whatever I could do, using my celebrity to promote my country – that’s very very important to me. So, it was a great opportunity to cement my legacy and put the spotlight on my country.”
BOSSIP: Were you surprised by the reaction from fans?
Shyne: “I’m always honored, and always flattered and floored. I really don’t look at myself as a superstar, as a celebrity or anything. I think my time was then. Now I’m just living in the glory and the greatness that I was able to contribute to the music industry. I’m like a museum. I’m something that is great, was great, will always be great, but I don’t get caught up in it. It just makes me appreciate the gift God gave me to make great music to impact people’s lives.”
BOSSIP: What do you think about today’s hip hop? Who are you listening to?
Shyne: “I love it. I love Drake. I love Meek Mill’s last album. It’s great to have all these competitive energies. Kendrick Lamar. These guys are great in continuing the forward movement of hip hop. I defiantly would like to see more music, Public Enemy-style, with all these white supremacist officers killing black males – slaughtering them for no reason. So we definitely need to have music targeting that, confronting that.”