Shyne (Photo Via Jerusalem Post)
Released last year after serving nine years in prison and deported to his native Belize, Shyne easily could have kicked it in Central America. His dad, after all, is the Belizean prime minister.
Instead, he went to Israel in September to explore Judaism, something he’d been interested in since he was a teen when he started reading the stories of King David and Moses, he told The New York Times. His Ethiopian grandmother may have been Jewish, the paper reported.
“There’s nothing in the Chumash that says I can’t drive a Lamborghini,” he told the newspaper, “nothing in the Halacha about driving the cars I like, about the lifestyle I live.”
In March 2006, while incarcerated in the Clinton Correctional Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, Shyne legally changed his name from Jamal Michael Barrow to either Moses Levi, Moses Michael Leviy or Moshe Levy Ben-David, depending on the media outlet reporting the story. He told The Times that he became a practicing Jew under the tutelage of the rabbis in prison.
In a YouTube video, he explained his rationale: “You look at any other science, it all goes back to Judaism. They say Abraham is the father of all religions. So for me, I don’t want to talk to the middleman. I want to talk to HaShem. I want to go straight to the boss.”
So, the rapper who once boasted of “leavin’ piece of your brain on your car” now wants to share Jewish values with youth. He told The Jerusalem Post he will continue focusing his music on urban life, but is omitting the n-word and misogyny from his lyrics.
Def Jam Recordings plans to release his albums, the aptly named “Messiah” and “Gangland,” next year.
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