The Curious Case Of Moses Michael Leviy

What more can be said about Shyne that the hip-hop Internets hasn’t said already? His career has had more false starts than a deaf track & field runner. A once-talented lyricist, his (supposedly purposely) altered voice now spotlights an atrophied washout. No commercial viability at this point. Yet after spending the past decade in prison and being promptly deported back to Belize upon his release, LA Reid chartered a private jet to Shyne’s homeland and signed him a multi-million dollar deal. And this happened despite Shyne not having released a proper album of original work in over five years.

I’m sorry, what?

If anything, I can’t be mad at Shyne for doing what he did. The man spent his twenties sharing showers and eating disgusting food in a federal prison with the likes of Fleece Johnson. I’ve never been to prison (and I never want to go/plan on going), so I can only imagine how things could be in there. Inmates are treated like slaves, animals and – in some cases – currency. I’ll admit: I’m not built for a vacation sponsored by the feds. I’m relatively skinny, and my locks are too long for it.

Where was I? Oh yes…

In Shyne’s eyes, coming home to seven figures for doing virtually nothing is too good of a deal to pass up. I’m sure anybody in his shoes would do the same. My concern, however, is what LA Reid was thinking of when he pulled off this stunt. Despite being instrumental in the careers of OutKast and Usher while running LaFace, his track record hasn’t been as spotless once Jay-Z bounced from Def Jam—after bilking them for all it’s worth—and he took over a few years ago. While he’s seen success with Mariah Carey, Ne-Yo and Rihanna among others, his track record with rap hasn’t been as flawless, with only one platinum album, a handful of gold albums, and crates of unsold Ace Hood CDs to his name.

My guess? Reid saw Shyne as possibly a last-ditch effort to appease his overlords and convince them to continue to employ, despite the fact he can’t even produce a chart-topping rap artist – much less offspring – successfully (look at his son Aaron; need I say more?). And after seeing Shyne – who was obviously as desperate as Reid was in regards to saving his own career – Reid became convinced that he would be the savior of his tenure at Def Jam. And this was all before he heard Shyne’s voice that, at best, sounds like a broken garbage disposal unit. I’m pretty sure he’s kicking himself in the ass now each time Shyne aurally violates our eardrums with his latest musical output.

The person I feel bad for the most, though, is Shyne. Most of us may not know the exact ins and outs of the music business, but we’ve all seen so many artists get the shaft over the years that we have some sense of what’s a Montreal Screw Job and what’s not. And in Shyne’s case, prison may end up being better than Def Jam. At least financially, that is.

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  • Sleap

    So…what about Ludacris than? or Even Rick Ross and Jeezy? They are still selling, and they are employed by Def Jam.

    • El Tico Loco

      They were there brought in by Scarface when he ran Def Jam South. L.A. Reid had nothing to do with their deals and look at their sales since.

  • $yk

    Seriously, when has Shyne EVER had a crystal clear rap voice? Please don’t point me to those Barrington Levy assisted mastered songs.

    If man can’t see the deal was for services rendered, I don’t know what to tell you.

    But son came out of a long bid, went to his island home, got a multi milli check to fly to the UK and make music.

    Shyne won, bottom line. Other n*ggaz come home to they momma house back around the way and back on the block.

  • Teddy

    I think the songs he put out so far are just warm up songs. I think Shyne still got enough juice to produce at least 2 more decent albums, before he has nothing left.

    This will just take a lil time. I give him the end of this year to see an improvement. If he keeps rappin and working in the studio and getting himself back in shape, we should see signs of improvement.

  • sealsaa

    “A once-talented lyricist”

    *Scooby-Doo confusion* Arruh??

    And to think, all this time I thought that he was a Biggie knock-off. Guess I owe Gorilla Black an apology as well…

  • Meka

    >So…what about Ludacris than? or Even Rick Ross and Jeezy? They are still selling, and they are employed by Def Jam.>

    since 2007 [the year la reid took over], only jeezy’s “the recession” went platinum. rick ross & ludacris’ respective projects have only gone gold.

    you can consider “808s & heartbreak” to be “rap,” but i don’t. i don’t even know what to call it.

  • Trin

    Correction LA Reid has been the chairman of Island Def Jam since 2004 Jay was a figure head…

  • herbsaac

    When I listened to the new PO records on my laptop with those speakers.. I was feeling the same as all of you.. However once some nice headphones got put on.. “messiah”(the other tracks are cool but come on Shyne on a a callous bitch like ri-ri’s ebats?(i dont know her but i mean if chris breezy was willing to hit her in public she must do something that is deserving of a more severe beating) but shyne doesnt mix well with the emo rap and r@b rappers.. i.e. Drake.. Rihanna.. (PO on HA HA was alright as well..) but messiah is a dope track.. lyrics on point.. and im over the sound of the voice.. but the weird slang/southern accent part still tips me off.. but i have no cares about the sound of his voice if the lyrics stay on point)

  • El Tico Loco

    Historically post conviction rappers don’t work out, something is usually lost in the process the exceptions are very few.

  • ri067953

    Didn’t Puffy once run with L.A. Reid? Maybe this album deal is sort of a peace offering from Puff who had Reid orchestrate it under Def Jam.

    I mean, in my book, that could be the only reason why the deal was so big.

  • espn

    this is the worst piece of editorial shit i have ever read in my entire life. meka, you are worthless. stick to running a blog faggot

  • Jamal7Mile

    I don’t know the details of his contract, but if those millions went into Shyne’s pocket and he doesn’t owe it back to Def Jam…how can you be mad at him for that? I’m a little disappointed (for Hip-Hop’s sake) that he didn’t take off running with some hits, but I’m happy for the man who had a rough life since his pops split.

    Couldn’t care less that the “industry” took an L. They’ve been fucking over rappers and, more importantly, EMCEES and DEE JAYS for decades.

    So fuck ‘em…

    • foolio_iglesias

      I been saying that for years,although the music industry isn’t just built on rap…actually,I’ve been waiting for rap to completely die and fade out from the mainstream consciousness,but em effin’ Mickey D’s keeps keepin’ hope alive with them rap commercials…

  • Caino

    l couldnt of said it better myself Jamal!

  • T Mack

    This is all a gimmick I just know that it is. I guess he figures that if he adjusts his voice and does a few guest spots on other people’s songs, then he wins automatically. I admit his new voice takes some getting used to, but I still think it’s a cheap marketing ploy in order to win his fanbase back.

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