Since he emerged from a 10-year bid in prison in 2009, Shyne has definitely been a changed man. The former Bad Boy rapper moved to Israel shortly after his release, converted to a sect of Judaism known as Hasidism, and has recently taken up with the famed Hasidic rapper/singer Matisyahu. Shyne now reportedly studies scripture 12 hours a day.
Speaking to The Jewish Chronicle, Matisyahu said he and Shyne have become fast friends since the MC’s conversion. "I'd say he was someone that I'd be there for anything he needs, and he has expressed the same for me," he said.
Shyne, a native of Belize who later moved to Brooklyn, was convicted of assault after the infamous 1999 Club New York shooting near Times Square during which he was accompanying Bad Boy Records founder P. Diddy and his then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez.
While still in prison, the "Bad Boyz" rapper legally changed his name from Jamal Michael Barrow to Moses Michael Levi. Shyne told The Jewish Chronicle that he will no longer use profanity in his music or feature scantily clad women in his music videos. He also plans to become celibate.
"You know what? You know how much I love women. I'm going to be shomer habris [abstain from sex until marriage] until this record comes out," he said.
Shyne is currently working on his third and forth albums, Messiah and Gangland. While neither currently has a release date, he hopes to release both projects in 2012.
(Photo: UPI/Debbie Hill/Landov)