Rapper Shyne is coming out about his newfound faith. Four years ago, while still serving a 10-year bid for the infamous “New York Club Shooting,” Shyne changed his government name to Moses Levi and apparently adopted a new denomination.
Now, in the latest issue of XXL magazine, Shyne sheds some light on his conversion to Judaism.
“My parents were nonreligious, but my grandmother, when she would tell me about God, she would tell me in the Jewish perspective. From Moses and David. I never went to church or none of that other Shyte. I believed in God and Moses.
That connection was made since I was a young muthafu%ka. But not on that level of the way it is now, where I know the law, the history of the Hebrews on the scholastic level, you can say. Like, I know all the ins and outs.”
The rapper who was deported to his native country Belize shortly after his release from prison in October of last year also speaks in detail on the significance of the name change.
“I could have did that on the street. I could have did that on my second album, and after I went away to Israel. You would think I could make a greater connection on the street than in the pen. But, anyway, that just came across natural growth, natural development. You know what Jamal Barrow means? Nothing. I don't connect with that. My mother didn't give me that name. Even though me and my pops is cool now, me and him didn't have the relationship to have life in that name.
So that name didn't contribute who I was and who I am. The only ting that contributed to me was my direct relationship with God. And the only person I could think of that has such a great relationship with God was Moses. Like they say, he walked with God, talked to God face-to-face. You know, God will reveal himself in different ways, and people will have different connections. But, like, Moses fuc*ed with God. And being on the streets, surviving bullets, poverty, I dealt with God face to face.
Getting pinched and trying to put that record out so I can feed my family, to see my dreams come true. I looked at my life and was like, I got a real, real relationship with this muthfuc*in' man, probably more than most men on the earth. And who got this relationship? Moses. And that's why I came up with that. That's who I wanted to be like. I don't want to be like Jamal. I wanna be like Moses. And Levi, he was a singer, a priest—he was a musician. And so I'm a musician. And Levi, I didn't even know, was Moses' grandfather. Come to find out, everything you know it before you know it. It's in you before you even understand the dynamics of it.”
As previously reported, Shyne signed a seven-figure deal with Def Jam Records upon his release from prison and the album, Guess Who, tentatively scheduled to drop late 2010 will be his first album since his release.