Shyne:
You Know What It Is

80Shyne1.jpgI ain’t no tattle teller, but I got a confession to make: The person seated in front of me in the cramped visiting room at upstate New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility doesn’t look much like the one in the pictures accompanying the article you’re reading. This guy here’s got hair. Good hair. Long, black and curly. Only when he speaks, in that distinctive, husky drawl, does it become clear that this is indeed Jamal “Shyne” Barrow, the genuine article. The man who Sean “Diddy” Combs signed to Bad Boy Records, way back in 1998, to be the heir to B.I.G.’s throne.

The man who, after a December ’99 night spent partying with his boss and his boss’ lady friend J.Lo, found himself locked up for a 10-year sentence. The man who admits he busted his gun in a crowded club, but insists to this day that he was defending himself in a dangerous environment.

During a trial that the mainstream dubbed “the Puffy Trial,” Shyne granted a historic cover-story interview to this very magazine, to discuss the frustrations and disappointments that led to a parting of ways with his high-profile mentor and codefendant. He bared his soul, but refused to “snitch” or detail the circumstances that led to him firing his weapon. “I’m a little bit heated right now,” he fumed in June 2001. “Watching niggas just rattin’ and watching niggas lie. Ain’t one nigga come up in the courtroom and just told the truth, ya know what I’m sayin’? Ain’t one nigga come up in there and say, Yeah, he pulled out his gun. He fired in the air after them kids shot at him. Ain’t one nigga do that.”

Shyne’s been in prison for almost five years now, but his presence is still felt in today’s hip-hop through the music of a new generation of stars. Shout-outs have been plentiful from the likes of The Game, Kanye West and Juelz Santana. And it’s not like the guy hasn’t remained relevant on his own merit. Two years ago, he pulled a major coup from inside his cell block, striking a multimillion-dollar deal with Island/Def Jam for his independent imprint, Gangland Records. The buzz on his second album, Godfather Buried Alive, was tremendous as Shyne single-handedly engineered a mega–press run (magazine covers, TV interviews) that even the most diligent publicist would have had trouble orchestrating. Soon, however, the air would be taken out of his tires.
When the powers that be got wind of Prisoner Barrow’s movements, they were far from pleased. They immediately shut down his phone privileges and put him in solitary confinement. Later, the New York State government found him in violation of the Son of Sam law, which prevents a prisoner from profiting from his or her crime. Suddenly the man who appeared to have conquered the world from behind bars was disciplined and silenced—until now.

Having retained new legal representation, Shyne is challenging the State’s decision to freeze his assets, and fighting for release as soon as possible. Today, two years after his last interview, Shyne discusses his legal situation, his current career status, his mistakes, his regrets, his goals, his joys and his pains. And, oh yeah, his “beef” with 50 Cent.

There are many rappers who’ve sold many more records. But still, five years since freedom, Shyne remains one of hip-hop’s most intriguing figures. Let ’em know, ’Po!

You haven’t done an interview since 2004’s Godfather Buried Alive press campaign. What are your feelings today, looking back at that project and all the craziness that surrounded it?
GF was just something for the die-hard Shyne fans, something to hold on to until it’s really time for me to touch the streets. I read some things where they say you prepare yourself for luck when you prepare yourself for fortune. I don’t watch TV. I wasn’t listenin’ to the radio. I was just in here, you dig? That was my dream. That was my vision—that after the whole Sean Combs thing, I would never have to work for anybody again. I had my dream. My dream was Gangland, my dream was autonomy. I didn’t do no press for three years. Nothin’. Didn’t talk to nobody, no visits, ain’t see my moms. Nothin’! I was just in here, goin’ through it.

Then suddenly you were everywhere. Why do you think the attention was so massive?

I can’t put my finger on it. It’s certain things that happen on this earth where you just can’t explain it. Right now, it’s been five years—and that was two years ago. Who’s to say that after three years people even care? Especially when you’re not there, you not physical, they can’t touch you, they can’t feel you. So all of that right there? That’s outta my hands. No marketing genius, no type of power broker put that together. That’s somethin’ that’s got nothin’ to do with human form.

80Shyne2.jpg There was a lot of drama around the time of the album’s release, right?

Yeah, we didn’t go through the proper channels. You don’t get money on somebody’s block without talkin’ to them first. I just went ahead and did everything—interviews and all that without [permission]. I was on 60 Minutes, I was everywhere, I was middle-America. So when you middle-America people up here, the commissioner, the superintendent, they’re gonna hear about you on MTV. And they’re like, Who’s this guy Shyne in your jail? I think it’s the way that I did it. Like, right now, I got permission for you to come in here. I’m not doin’ anything wrong. But before, a lot of the things that I did, I didn’t get permission. So they was like, Hold on, how is he gonna do these things in jail? I’m still an inmate. But just to be clear, because I had violated some rules, I went to the box, they shut my phone down. So I wasn’t able to do nothin’. I was supposed to call 106 & Park, I was supposed to call TRL. So that’s when the project really stopped.

After the first single, “Jimmy Choo,” dropped?
Not even. The first week the album dropped, August 10, everything shut down. I got locked up like a couple days after that—in the hole. Six months. You locked down for 23 hours a day. No commissary, no nothin’. All you get is a few showers a week. When you go in a cage, you got nothin’ but mail, and if you lucky enough to get some reading materials.

That must have been crazy to go from the highs of getting ready to release such a highly anticipated album, and then suddenly everything is put to a halt.
You gotta pay the price, and that’s life, you dig? I never seen nobody on this earth that don’t go through it. Bill Gates is gettin’ washed up by Apple and Google and all those dudes right now, and he’s doin’ nothing. Gotta go through it, you understand what I’m talkin’ about.

Did you see it coming? Did you think you were gonna be punished for your actions?
I mean, like I said, I was naive. I didn’t come out like, Yo, I was gon’ be the most talked-about, highest-profiled rapper in Middle America. I didn’t think that, you dig? I thought I was just gonna put a little record out, and nobody would know. And when it happened, you know, it be what it be.

Continue reading this feature in the May 2006 issue of XXL (#80).

  • http://XXL.COM 1&ONLY

    SHYNE SHOULD HAVE PUT A SONG ON HIS CD ABOUT HIM GETTIN ASS RAPED

  • Pingback: Nah Right » Blog Archive » Shyne/Kim XXL Covers

  • A2Z

    how the fuck u goin talk about some reckless garbage like that 1&ONLY? you should have said:
    PUFF DADDY SHOULD HAVE PUT A SONG ON HIS CD (NOT EVEN HIS OWN MATERIAL ANYWAY) WITH A SONG ABOUT HOW HE FUCKED SHYNE OVER

    probably need a ghostwriter for that too, i mean he could afford to put shyne in jail, i’m sure he can get another ghostwriter… fuck bad boy!

  • mvance

    yo why would u kick a man when he is down in the box where u there when he got rape did they hold u down and rape u too stop playing u sound real hommo/ the man is doing time for some BS and u think smashing his name is REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that’s why blacks can’t get anywhere because of dudes like u/ u foul duke get a life

  • Pingback: To Da Beat - Hip Hop At It’s Best! » Shyne on XXL

  • http://www.shyne.net.ms Mike

    What could I say? Free Shyne Man! He got enough! He didn’t do nuttin that bad! He just shot at that lil clit and she’s still alive, Puffy is still fuckin around and nobody except god knows WTF really happened that night!

  • lord e ruck

    fuck puffy,diddy,badboy…….free the real mc beside pac,free shyne bitches

  • the God

    TO 18& ONLY, YOU GOT SMACKED ENOUGH AND NEXT TIME WIPE YOUR MOUTH BEFORE YOU STEP IN SOMEONE’S HOME. TO SHYNE, ONE LOVE FROM SOMEONE WHO’S GONE TO TRIAL AND HAD NO SO CALLED FRIENDS SHOWING HIM LOVE. HAD TO COUNT ON FAMILY ONLY. THAT RIGHT THREE TAUGHT A BROTHER A LOT. ONE

  • the God

    TYPOS THAT RIGHT THERE…..

  • Corown Blu Eyez

    Basically I’m feeling that badboy records was a joke even since the early days except for biggie (rest in peace god). I think people should wake up, walk outside and think over shit when they randomnly start hating on every emcee that got fucked. And personally, i couldt give less of a fucking ingnorant fuck if he did bust a cap in someone’s ass, he’s one of the realest and i respect that.

  • kANe

    DAMN SON
    I MISS THAT NIGGA MAN….I’LL B GLAD WHEN HE COMES HOME
    ITS GON B LIKE SEEIN GOD 4 THE 1ST TIME
    WHEN SHYNE TOUCH THE CONCRETE
    THE WHOLE WORLD GON FEEL THE BIGGEST DOSE OF FEAR SINCE 9/11

    THAZ A PROMISE
    AFTER ALL HE’S GOIN THRU RIGHT NOW
    U REALLY THINK THIS MAN IS GONNA FALL SHORT 2 NE OF THESE NIGGAZ N RAP??

    HA
    I FEEL SORRY 4 ALOTTA PPL
    RAPPERS AND FANS

  • Prince of NY

    keep your head up shyne and hope to see you soon in BK. i heard you and foxy are be in a group together and i will definately be watching for that shit. One Love!

  • amZor

    FREE SHYNE !! FREE HIM!

  • sean

    good look on the cover for shyne po that nigga always rep whats hood these cats need to know when po come home SHOP IS CLOSED!!!!

  • afrocynic

    How can any credible reporter be talking about someone’s got ‘good hair’ that is serious unprofessional behaviour and to think that the damn editor let them print that

  • lacuz

    yo afrocynic why you gotta be hating on the man’s hair. and if you were an avid reader of xxl you would figure out that they keep shit gutta and hood at all times. but they also state the facts, what you mad cause ain’t nobody jocking your hair or is it fucked up? anyway, shyne po is that nigga, fuck 50, fuck puffy, and any other dick ridin’ hatin’ ass bitches in the game

  • oklahoma

    free shyne yall know puff behind that shit let that metro sexual unkle tom do the rest of the time free shyne nigga

  • vdz

    free shyne po

  • junior.san fran.

    what dont kill you only makes you stronger ….hold your head souljah.

  • http://xxlmag.com E-man South c

    You ma word to the Pen is “FREE SHYNE” i want the fedz to know that everybody gatta right to defend him/herself.Nigga, im an artist and also a big fan to shyne and all,He had to do shit to prove what he talks about,look in his shoes first,its not like if he gets free he’ll be a dangerous man to the society,dis nigga’ll be chasing his cheddar like he was,he’z learnt his mistakes N for sure next time he’ll think twice before doing shit.Tell them Dz to free B,if they ask who said it tell em its the E-man.

  • Truly Yours

    LET ME JUST START BY SAYING FREE SHYNE PO. I THINK SHYNE DID THE HONERABLE THING WHAT HE WAS SUPPOSE TO DO. THE NIGGA YALL SHOULD BE MAD AT IS PUFF. HOW YOU GONE TURN YO BACK ON YO DUDE. PUFF NEW HIS WITNESS WAS LYIN BUT HE TURNED HIS HEAD THE OTHER WAY BECAUSE HE DIDN’T WANT PROBATION TIME.WHAT KIND OF SHIT IS THAT. ALSO EVERYBODY THAT GO TO JAIL DON’T GET RAPED.PLEASE STOP BEING DISRESPECTFUL CAUSE THAT SHIT AIN’T EVEN NECESSARY.BUT ANYWAY THE INTERVIEW WAS A GOOD INTERVIEW.I’M GLAD TO SEE THAT SHYNE LEARNED FROM HIS MISTAKES. A TEN YEAR SENTENCE IS JUST TO LONG.FREE SHYNE PO

  • HG

    FREE SHYNE!!!!!

  • craig g

    shyne motha fuckin PO, dont let that haters hate, come back bigger than p diddy

  • Ghettoflydude!

    A Yo I just want to tell that nigga SHYNE keep doing your thang fam, and I’m still listening 2 your 1st album can’t wait 2 u come home the streets need u!!!

  • knucklsL-woodNJ

    FRee SHYNE PO BROOKLYN STAND THE FUK UP

  • Young M

    It’s about damn time my nigga came out of the fucking closet about all this shit. He strait hoed 50 and them wack ass niggaz. Shyne, Fabolous, and T.I. the hottest niggaz in the game right now to me killing this shit and they get mad respect from me. Wait till he get out and Puffy jump on his dick. Yall rappers betta wake up and stop sleeping becauase once he get released. shyne gone change the game for life just like Tupac.

  • puff daddy

    more or less was raw but by the time that nigga gets out he gonna be to old to flow just because that fool busted his gat in da club doesnt make his raps tight if that was true id pop off some shit

  • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=652 GGG

    FUCK THAT NIGGA PUFFY I THINK HE IS A REAL BITCH. FREE SHYNE AND HE’LL SHOW THESE FAKE RAPPERS HOW THE GAME IS SUPPOST TO BE. FREE SHYNE!!!!!

  • http://www.klimate.com/b5/staging/privacy.html Bad Boy Beater

    He’s Gonna Shyne !!

    and let puff duddy make his stupid band (making the band 3) fuck him.

    Cant even make no band
    Signing shyne to bad Boy ?
    That shit is over when he out!

    And then he will turn his back on puff
    like he did shyne lolz

    Free Shyne!!!!!

    R.I.P. B.I.G. Proof

  • Killa Blue/ straight outta grenada

    Hey I wish I did know that 1&only pussy hole dat said shyne got raped, that make us know how niggas is real dick i wouldda fuck u up. Shyne is the realest nigga alive now, aint nobody fuckin wit shyne po. dey gonna die. “fuck the DA and the croocked ass judge, i know where dey both live missed place both dey kids til dey drop charges, thats how gangstas live” remember that? “i guess this aint bout music,cuz the jail only made me much more ruthless and the bitch nigga knew this, this is why he tried to sign me to G- UNIT, naw! tel em how u made me offers, but i dont run wit rats amma GodFather” yal hear dat? FUCK 50 AND THE GAY UNIT..Blllaaaaccckkkkkkk… DSB 4 life.

  • kyle

    shyne is loser.. y is there such interest in dude? do you all remember that this dude can’t rap to say his life… by giving him all this attention, you’ll makig him into something he’s not.. a superstar rapper

  • watkins

    keep ya head up shyne R.I.P. PROOF

  • http://www.myspace.com/4kon20dub/ Mezzano

    damn nigga, shyne will come back better n harder than diddy..

    Give a nigga a early release.. damn

  • syed

    yo peeps im an aspisrin rapper, ima a post sum lyrics so holla bk want ur response

    Cop da coup wid da roof gone n switch plates, was born 2 get cake, call it fate, I no ur type u pre ejaculate ur too eager mate 6 2 da hed will make u levitate, ur bate g written ova u like a gucchi handbag one word ma bois will push ur head back. Im 4rm da manor, where u can get gunned down 4 less den a benna, cudve been a docter, ended up a shotter, I thought quick money easy life, all 4 a coupla pairs of air max 95, kicked da books 2 move packs, cooked da crack in ma mums flat, saran wrap. Mum cudnt stand that kicked me out told me don’t come back, cant say I wasn’t upset, week later she got shot I was a suspect, found da nigga who done it, shots 2 da hed gave him a closed casket, with ma mum gone had 2 provide 4 ma lil brother, didn’t want him 2 get up 2 no bother, told him education is da key 2 da future, felt like a hypocrite, he asked me y I quit, school, saw me smash a nigga hed against the wall, das when he realised is bro was a criminal.

  • http://xxlmag.com chucky xl aka uzi

    fuck puffy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    shyne is my favorite rapper 4life and 4 the other shyne fans on bet106&park they he gets out in 2007 and is workin’ on a new album right now GANGLAND RECORDS 2 THE END

    FUCK PUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU SNITCH ASS BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK BAD BOY A.K.A BAD BITCHES

  • Shaun

    Dude..still today I listen to Shyne. I believe he took this one to the heart. If you ask me Diddy needs to be in the hole. Straight up..like Diddy don’t look out for no one but himself (faggot) but Straight up Shyne is still one of the Greatest rappers in Hip-Hop today. I’ll be waitin soon as you get out. If you need anything holla at me Boo?!!

  • 2Quik

    Shyne is bar none, the best lyricist in rap music since Tupac; however, what he needs is some better beats and production, and some serious promotion from a label that respects rap music…then maybe the world would really get to see Shyne realize upon the potential and talent that we true Shyne know he has…be safe and one love…see you when you get out

  • Zeek from da Tdot

    Shyne, can’t wait till rock the streetz wit dat gangsta shit once again.

    respect

  • Tropolis

    Check it… the Dun low is dis shyne …hold it down hommie fuck thouse other niggaz cause if C murder is out and Cassidy …You will be out too im a witness to the shit

    Region park 4 lyfe AKA tropolis

    STOP SNITCHIN !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • DJ V

    Yo
    Shynetook
    theblame
    for
    diddy

  • http://jhbdyahoo.com login/*****p*******

    “his motive is of something of a higher form than a genre but the revolutioanary prophet, which perhaps fits the description of the big book”

    rev. Sharpton. A
    New York Times

  • kool n kalm

    i bet u dat dude 1 & only that made the first comment been raped before why he said that..hahahaha..big up to po .

  • EthiopianMobb

    Shout’s out to XXL!!! for puttin our frontman Shyne on the cover! It’s hard to find a real nuccah thats makin music, but isn’t coward! He didn’t even tell any magazine who he was shootin it out with, because that would break the rules! If u scream “gangster”…then be it! nobody forces anybody du be gangster, thats your choice, and shyne knows that! Doin ten years for keepin his mouth shut! so all ya’ll niggas hatin on Shyne come see us in D.C, Detroit, N.Y.C !!!!…the e.t mobb is spread! keep your head up po! Shout out to EAP! YA’LL KNOW WHAT IT IS!

  • MDG

    Shyne po is the real we you look at hem you are look at a real G hes song what make me think about shit that real we live for money and poeple don’t say be we love money a lot of us do because this would gos round money and that what he say on he CD because that what it all about to live good you need money and to get it her hes song and you will see it not a joke there is no gangster rap like hem he is the last one one love get out soon and do what you do best gangster hip hop and s TRUE LIKE I KNOW YOU WILL THANK TO XXL FOR NOT FOR GETTING HE KEEP HEM ALIVE SO PEOPLE DON’T FOR GET BESAUSE I WON’T

  • http://www.xxlmag.com Mav

    Shyne Po,
    Keep your head up cat’s on the outside. Ain’t forgot ya’boy. Give us a block of that uncut shit. G.A.M.E

  • http://WWW.TWOT.COM WESTSYDAZ

    BIGGIE AND TUPAC IS LIKE
    SHYNE ANS GAME 4 REAL

  • DeathBeforeDishonor

    FREE PO!!!! OUR BLACK GODFATHER!!

  • EPEMOBB

    To all ya’ll dumb ass mafuckas who are saying shyne can’t rap! we’re not even talkin to ya’ll backpack wearing ass yo-yo hip hop fanatics! PO is the only ni66a in this fucked up Industrie who could care less about rap and more about money! This nigga was hittin the streets harder then the mafa in New York! He speaks to niggas like us…life is real and he lets you know! fuckin cartoon hip hop heads! go bang some 50 faggot ass niggas, since you are such a fan…fuckin weirdos!
    FREE SHYNE PO!!!
    real niggas got you my nigga

  • ILLWILK

    FREE SHYNE PO…….keep ur head up, don’t let theze hatin muthafuckaz discourage u….come home soon….put out summore fire for these lil A-Town reppin chicken noodle soup ass niggaz…1

  • http://shyne yvonne

    hello shyne my name is norman,i’m having a hardtime with farris my girlfriend and we got madlove 4 u
    WINNIPEG.CANADA
    ohyeah i gotta say gggg-unot!

  • http://shyne norman

    i love u shyne keep it up there
    your the man
    i smoke and drink to godfatherburiedalive cd
    and i hope u read this
    i would love see you one day
    your my favorite rapper
    your like a god to me
    i look up 2 u!

  • NINETREYG

    FREE SHYNE……

  • Adrian

    Shyne you are the man. Straight up your music is off the hook. Yo I can’t wait till you get out and take Hip Hop to another level.

  • Mo

    somebody should come and str8 take him out of jail just like Suge did to Pac (RIP)..1 luv Stay up Shyne

  • antonio

    Free Shyne!

    The man is serving his time and I expect him to come out stronger after s**t is done!

  • jo3y

    ayo free shyne …mii nigga shyne

  • jo3y

    ayo free shyne …mii nigga shyne

  • Crazzii01

    1&only how u gona say sum shit lik dat bout shyne,, i think tht if diddy would have been the 1 to go 2 jail he would have gotten dick in his ass ,, SHYNE GETS OUT IN 2009 N I CANT WAIT SO HE CAN WIPE DIDDY OUT 50 CENT N AL THESE FAKE ASS RAPPERS OUT NOW,, DAMN I CANT WAIT 4 SHYNE TO GET OUT,, N TO SAY FUCK U TO ALL THEM PPL LIK U 1&ONLY SO FUCK U 1 &ONLY AND FUCK BAD BOY ENT…

    FREE SHYNE