JERUSALEM – Reformed rapper and ex-convict Shyne said Tuesday he is eager to collaborate with artists ranging from young Israeli musicians to hip hop moguls Kanye West and Jay-Z as he revives his career.
After serving eight years in prison for a nightclub shooting, the former protege of Sean "Diddy" Combs is now living in Jerusalem as an ultra-Orthodox Jew. Born Jamaal Michael Barrow, Shyne also goes now by the Hebrew name Moshe Levi Ben-David.
At a screening of two new short films — The Original and Roller Song — Shyne said he has five albums forthcoming that have been deeply influenced by his atypical spiritual journey.
"I am not ashamed of the mistakes I have made. I'm not ashamed of where I was in order to get to where I am," he said, wearing a white skullcap and glasses and sporting the shaved head characteristic sidecurls of an ultra-Orthodox Jew.
Since arriving in September, Shyne has met Israel Cabinet ministers, studied Torah and promoted Israel's relationship with Belize — where his father is prime minister.
"Moshe Levi has a great impact on the music that Shyne makes," he said.