I remember back when I first heard about this kid named Shyne. Everyone was talking about how he was nice with the rhymes and how there was a bidding war between Russell Simmons and Puff for son’s services. But what everyone really was talking about was how he resembled Biggie on the mic. That right there turned me off. I had no interests in listening to a Biggie sound-alike especially right after the man was buried. But when I finally heard dude freestyle on a DJ Clue mixtape, I was convinced of three things: 1. Dude does not sound like Poppa. 2. Shyne is pretty ill. And 3. Puff is a relentless business man.

Of course Jamal Barrow wasn’t as nasty as the illest and his flow isn’t close to touching the greatest of all time, but homie spits hard ish. Over Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive’ instrumental Po spits, “Pistols and pussy straight from the door/brown paper bags filled with blood money, I need more/too much ain’t enough/high off dust/the greed is never ending/catching bodies, I’m what Gotti was supposed to be – it’s overwhelming/face smothered in cocaine, against all odds/life is what you make it so I made it leaving muthafuckas naked/get excited watching niggas bleed/helplessly, so I kill ‘em, put them out they misery selflessly/all gangsters is dead or in jail except for me.” That’s the kind of shit and imagery that could inspire Scorsese’s next flick.

And while the hood was banging out to the classic, “Bad Boys” the women were melting over “Bonnie and Shyne.” That just proved that he had that crossover appeal that few artists had. That song worked to the kid’s benefit too. That summer I slobbed down many intoxicated women in hood house parties and project jumpoffs thanks to the rhythm of that song. Imagine that Young City “Universe” song would’ve came on instead of that Shyne joint? Those same shorties would’ve thrown they drinks on my face as soon as that “White shirt” line was said.

Sidenote: Barrington Levy doesn’t get enough props for his hooks and style. He was killing it for those few months that Shyne’s singles were on fire. He’s got some pretty dope joints himself. Don’t sleep.

This is a pretty good mixtape for anyone curious about the legend of Shyne and his music. 25 To Life Plus 9 has his best joints, his interviews about the trial that put him behind bars and why he blames Puff, and it even has his infamous 50 Cent diss that he recorded over the phone from the bing. While some complain that his style isn’t all loud and angry on records, he doesn’t need to be. Shyne’s suave and laid back boss steez gives him a more serious tone that make dudes take notice and pay attention to what he’s saying. The question is, will the hipster hip-hop world listen to what he has to say on his records when he comes home this summer and he attempts a comeback? I know I will, but that’s just me, the mixtape OG.

Have a good and safe weekend, y’all. Uno.-The Infamous O

Hottest Joint: “Bad Boys” (It’s cliché, but you can’t argue that it’s a timeless single)

Weakest Joint: “Brooklyn Bitches”