C. Vernon Coleman II

Shyne Speaks On Conversion To Judaism


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.

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  • Deep.

  • blakneck

    Word Mr. Levi.

    Anything can stop a man from being him self, but a wise man stops himself from being just anything.

    Peace Brother.

  • Mabel

    I wish him well. We all make mistakes some greater than others and we all deserve second and third chances. I would have enjoyed the article better sans cursing, but I appreciated his candor.

  • bornwithaSILVER spoon

    Annnd?? He still goin to hell.

    Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. No one goes to the Father EXCEPT thru (him).

  • David B

    Good on him for making something more of his life, @bornwithasilerspoon to each his/her own

  • GroovyRabbi

    Welcome home brother. Besides being the religion with the most diversity, Judaism is the root of all monotheistic religion. Unlike it’s spin-off religions, Judaism does not have a history of forced conversions, persecuting other religions nor does it believe that the followers of other religions are destined for hell. Judaism may celebrate and demonstrate a sense of “choseness” at time but without hatred and with respect of others. Despite the intense persecutions that Judaism has endured it has shown it’s toughness through survival and thriving time and time again. Welcome home brother.