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Birth name Jamal Barrow[1]
Also known as Shyne Po
Born November 8, 1978 (1978-11-08) (age 31)
Belize City, Belize[1]
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, record producer, actor, CEO, record executive, fashion designer
Years active 1998 – present
Labels Bad Boy Entertainment/Arista Records (1998-2003)
Gangland Records (2004-Present)
Def Jam Recordings (2004-2005, 2010-present)

Moses Michael Leviy (born Jamal Barrow; November 8, 1978), better known as Shyne, is a Belizean born rapper.



Shyne was born in Belize City, Belize, the son of Imeon Myvette and Dean Barrow, the current Prime Minister of Belize.[2][3] Shyne has only reluctantly acknowledged him as his father, due to his father publicly stating that Shyne was "unwanted". His mother is the sister of Michael Finnegan, one of Barrow's long-time political colleagues. [4][5] Shyne remained behind with his uncle in Belize when his mother moved to the US. It wasn't until the age of 13 when she was able to bring him with her to Brooklyn. [6]

Early career and Bad Boy Records

In 1998, while Shyne was freestyling in a barbershop, hip hop producer Clark Kent noticed something unique in Shyne's voice. He sounded eerily similar to the late, great Notorious B.I.G.. At the time, Clark Kent was working on the "Born Again" posthumous album from Biggie.[7]

Not soon after, Shyne was making his appearances on fellow bad boy's hits. He was featured on a remix of Total's "Sittin At Home" track and on Mase's second album Double Up on the track entitled "From Scratch".[8] In the same year he was featured on Bad Boy Records CEO Sean "Puffy" Combs' Forever album (Reverse) as well as on a remix of P.E. 2000.[9]

Club New York shooting

It is alleged that on December 27, 1999, Shyne, along with Combs and then girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, was involved in a shooting at a Manhattan club which left three people injured. As a result the 21-year-old rapper, whose debut album was pending release, was charged with attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment.[10] This lead to rumours about Shyne's position at Bad Boy records and doubts about whether his debut album was ever going to be released.

Shyne managed to release his self-titled debut album in September 2000. Featuring very few guest appearances (Barrington Levy and 112's Slim the only two). The album featured production from The Hitmen. However, with the pending trial date, the rapper's future was uncertain.[11]


Mugshot taken of Shyne early in his incarceration (April 19, 2002)

On June 1, 2001, Shyne was sentenced to ten years in prison.[12][13][14] He began serving his sentence at the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. This seemed to spell the end of his rap career and his legal team's attempts to appeal for a suspended sentence ultimately failed. Rumors that he had severed all ties with Sean Combs and Bad Boy Records proved later to be true.[15][16]

He had his name legally changed, in early March 2006, from his birthname of Jamal Michael Barrow to Moses Michael Leviy to reflect his recent conversion to Judaism as well as his mother's Jewish heritage.[17] Just days later he was in court again to challenge New York's application of the 'Son of Sam' law, a law which resulted in his assets being frozen and limiting his ability to line up record deals and remain profitable.[18] He and his lawyers argued that allowing him to make deals with record producers would also increase the value of a potential settlement with the victims involved in the night club shooting.[19]

Despite his ordeal, his incarceration drew many sympathizers, as well as the admiration of many in the hip hop community.[20] His adherence to the code of silence, which he made reference to numerous times on his self-titled debut album, earned him a hardcore reputation in both the prison community as well as on the streets. Even while incarcerated, his name continued to be linked with several record labels.[21][22] However, he wasn't without his detractors; fellow New York rapper 50 Cent even went so far as to call him a punk and made light of his situation and his involvement in the "night club incident". Shyne responded in kind on his 2004 release Godfather Buried Alive, with a track entitled "For the Record".[23]

Release and deportation

On August 4, 2009, Shyne was released to his former producer Nick Dahms. A Manhattan judge signed the order that would schedule Shyne for release on October 6, 2009.[24][25] Having served over 9 years of a 10 year sentence on which no terms for post-release supervision had originally been placed; at the request of the Correction Department the recent re-sentencing calls for a mandatory probation period of at least two and half years.[26] Shyne and his attorney, Oscar Michelen had initially hoped to avoid this, with Shyne labeling it as being akin to "extra jail time". However Michelen did allow that the state was well within its rights.[27][28] He was then transferred to the Woodbourne Correctional Facility, where he spent the last months of his incarceration, from Rikers Island where he had awaited his parole hearing.[29]

There was considerable anticipation for his release in hip-hop and mainstream media alike.[30][31] On October 6, 2009, Shyne was released from New York State custody. However upon his release, Shyne was immediately apprehended into Federal custody.[32][33] It became public knowledge a few hours following his apparent release that he had been detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a then "undisclosed detention facility in Western New York State". At least one source revealed that the facility in question was the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia.[34] According to his attorney, Oscar Michelen, Federal officials were reviewing the rapper's immigration status and making a determination on whether or not he would be deported to his native Belize.[35] He went on to clarify that Shyne was in possession of a "green card" but had never been naturalized.[3] There was some speculation that Shyne might have been released on bail in the US while his case was being resolved.[36] However there was no real indication that a bail was ever set or notification of any change in his official status.

Although statements from his family in Belize and the US remained positive, according to Shyne's uncle, Michael Finnegan, preparations had been made in the event that the rapper was sent back to Belize.[37] He also revealed that Shyne and his representatives had been expecting to be intercepted by ICE officials upon his release and had deferred members of his legal team to prepare the necessary documents in an effort to deal with this situation.[38] Shortly into the developing ordeal, Dean Barrow Belize's Prime Minister and Shyne's estranged father, sent a petition to New York Governor David Paterson to pardon his son.[39] In 2008 Governor Paterson pardoned rapper Slick Rick who, in a similar situation, also faced deportation.[40][41] Barrow stated that he'd been assured that the Governor received his letter and that it was under consideration, but that he did not expect to have any influence in swaying the (ICE) decision.[42] The family also indicated that they had sought the assistance of Charles Ogletree, a Harvard Law professor who is known for being a mentor to President Barack Obama and a part of his inner circle.[43] On October 15, 2009 Michael Finnegan released a statement indicating that all legal matters regarding the case had been turned over to Professor Ogletree entirely. The decision was apparently agreed to by all concerned members of Shyne's family.[44][42]

By October 22, 2009 most publications were indicating that a final decision had been reached and, barring a last minute pardon from Governor Paterson. Shyne would be deported back to Belize.[45] Shyne was deported back to Belize on Wednesday October 28, 2009 where he will continue to fight for residency in the United States.[46].[47]
In February 2010, the rapper was refused entry into the United Kingdom due to his criminal past. He had commenced his journey in Cancun, Mexico, but was deported upon arrival in the UK after immigration officials refused to allow him to enter the country. On February 16th, 2010, Shyne signed a seven figure deal with Def Jam Records. Guess Who will be his first album since his release in 2010. Guess Who schedule to release summer of 2010.[48]




  • The Truth: Advance (2000)
  • Lost Son (2003)
  • Life After The Club (2004)
  • Clinton Sparks & DJ Rukiz: Shyne - If I Could Start From Scratch (2004)
  • Lost Tapes (2004)
  • DJ Laser Presents Shyne - The Son Of Sam (2009)
  • 25 To Life Plus 9 (2009)
  • Suge White & Shyne - Best Of Shyne (2009)
  • DJ Messiah & DJ Antalive: Shyne 10 Years & Still Shyne'in (2009)
  • Welcome Home (Best of Shyne) (2009)
  • Shyne's Home (Oct. 6) (2009)
  • DJ Dizzy Donmez Hip-Hop Nights Shyne On (2010)


  1. ^ a b retrieved December 10, 2008
  2. ^ "Belize elects first black leader, ousts incumbent (page 2)". Catherine Bremer Reuters. February 8, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  3. ^ a b "Rapper Shyne Fights Deportation To Belize". The Founderon, October 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  4. ^ "Shyne’s Father Elected Prime Minister of Belize". by xxl staff. February 13, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Shyne Immigration Hearing Subject to Mercy of Harvard Law Professor". Nadeska Alexis, The October 19, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-20. 
  7. ^ "Bad boy: the influence of Sean "Puffy" Combs on the music industry (page 129-131)". by Ronin Ro, publisher: Atria (isbn13: 9780743428231). October 30, 2001. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  8. ^ "From Scratch by Mase Feat. Shyne, Harlem World & Mysonne on Double Up". (audio & video file). N/A. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  9. ^ "P Diddy Forever CD". N/A. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  10. ^ "Puff Daddy out on bail". BBC News. December 28, 1999. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  11. ^ "Rapper Shyne, jailed in Diddy and Jennifer Lopez club shooting incident, free and facing deportation". Simone Weichselbaum, NY Daily News. October 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  12. ^ "SHYNE GETS TEN YEARS IN JAIL". NME News. June 1, 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  13. ^ "Shyne Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison". Brian Hiatt, June 1, 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  14. ^ "Puffy's Protege Sentenced To 10 Years In Club Shooting.". Jet Magazine. June 18, 2001. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  15. ^ "'Puffy' Visited 'Shyne'". Stephen M. Silverman, People Magazine. June 15, 2001.,,622019,00.html. Retrieved 2009-08-18. 
  16. ^ "Shyne Signs Deal With Def Jam From Behind Bars". Joeseph Patel, 2004. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  17. ^ "Shyne To Legally Change Government Name". Mark Lelinwalla, March 3, 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  18. ^ "Shyne Changes Name, Fights Asset Freeze". Blastro. March 7, 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  19. ^ "Shyne Becomes Moses, Challenges New York's 'Son Of Sam' Law". Gil Kaufman, March 7, 2006. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  20. ^ "Shyne: Blessings With Curses". Shaheem Reid & add. John Norris, April 16, 2004. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  21. ^ "Irv Gotti Eyes Shyne, Despite Jail And Bad Boy Contract". Shaheem Reid, August 15, 2002. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  22. ^ "SHYNE STILL A WANTED MAN!". NME Magazine. August 15, 2002. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  23. ^ "Imprisoned Rapper Shyne Continues To See Millions". Metanoya Webb, Black College View. April 23, 2004. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  24. ^ "Shyne will meet with parole board today, does Jay-Z want to sign him?". Samantha Greaves, August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  25. ^ "SHYNE TO BE RELEASED FROM THE PEN EARLY?!". J'More, Str8NYC. February 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  26. ^ "Shyne Granted October Release From Prison". Jayson Rodriguez, August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  27. ^ "Shyne Granted October Release From Prison". Jayson Rodriguez, August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  28. ^ "Shyne To Be Released This Year". Anthony Springer Jr, August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  29. ^ "Former Bad Boy Rapper Shyne Has Parole Hearing Today". Thomas Freeman, Yo! Raps Magazine. August 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  30. ^ "Mysteries of Shyne, Regina Lasko Pictures and Layne Staley Solved". Sam Brand, October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  31. ^ "Rappers Rally for Shyne's Release Today". Justin Stewart, October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  32. ^ "Was Rapper Shyne Released from Prison?". Edecio Martinez , October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  33. ^ "Rapper Shyne Released From Jail After 8 Years". admin, October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  34. ^ "SHYNE DENIES RECENT CONVO WITH DIDDY:". October 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  35. ^ "Shyne Remains In Custody Due To Immigration Status". Jayson Rodriguez, October 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-06. 
  36. ^ "Xilla Got It: Shyne Is On His Way Home". BlogXilla, Global Grind. October 9, 2009. Retrieved ?. 
  37. ^ "Shyne’s Uncle Speaks On Pending Deportation". Danielle Harling, October 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  38. ^ "Shyne Update: High-ranking uncle speaks on deportation battle, and prepares home in Belize". October 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-16. 
  39. ^ "PM Dean Barrow Asks NY Governor to Pardon Shyne". Jules Vasquez, 7 News Belize. October 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  40. ^ "Slick Rick Pardoned By New York Governor Thanks To 'Exemplary' Record". Joseph Patel, May 23, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  41. ^ "After Shyne's Release, What's Next?". Jayson Rodriguez, Oct 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  42. ^ a b "Belize PM wants pardon for rapper son 'Shyne'". October 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  43. ^ "Rapper Shyne's Dad Asks N.Y. Governor For Pardon". The Founderon, October 10, 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  44. ^ "New Legal Strategy for Shyne". 7 News Belize. October 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  45. ^ "SHYNE TO BE DEPORTED: Rapper being forced back to native Belize upon release from prison.". October 22, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Shyne Returns Home to Belize on Wednesday". 7 News Belize. October 26, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-27. 
  48. ^ "Rapper Shyne Refused UK Entrance". Digital Spy. February 6, 2010. Retrieved 2009-02-06. 

Shyne & L.A. Reid Sign Multimillion Dollar Recording Contract

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