Shyne has a story that Hollywood film producers dream of — but it’s his real life. From his rise as a Bad Boy Records rapper and subsequent fall into the confines of Clinton Correctional Facility, to his miraculous rebirth as a Orthodox Jew and journey to the Belizean House of Representatives, the now 42-year-old has weathered each storm only to emerge stronger. But with his focus now firmly shifted to politics, Shyne the rapper is more like a ghost of nostalgia as he navigates the political waters of his home country.
During a recent interview with HipHopDX, Shyne — who changed his name to Moses Levi in 2010 after serving nearly 10 years in prison for the infamous Manhattan nightclub shooting involving Diddy and then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez — revealed he’ll be recording new songs for an upcoming biopic about his life. However, Shyne says if Hip Hop fans really want to hear him spit, they should check out his political addresses, which find him tapping into his rapper past with a typically undetectable Belizean accent.
“They can hear me in the House of Representatives and go to my Instagram page,” he says. “You’d almost think that I was performing in the studio when you hear me. It’s a lot of 16s and a lot of hits when you hear me talking about policy and legislation in the House of Representatives. Oration is an art.”
MSNBC anchor Ari Melber, whose Hip Hop knowledge could rival any dedicated fan, spoke with Shyne in 2020 about his political aspirations. Their discussion made him acutely aware how important his connection between Belize and the United States truly is.
“Ari has the gift of freedom,” Shyne says. “Ari has the gift to be free. Most Americans do, and that’s one of the things that I love about my connectivity, my bridge between Belize and United States is the mindset. I could show Americans how fortunate they are by taking them to Belize so they could see how the misfortunes of Belizeans and how some of them are living.
“And I want to take the Belizeans to the United States state of mind so they could see an Ari Melber who is free to be a Hip Hop enthusiast and a political commentator and not miss a beat and people love it. He’s the first one. Or maybe there’s others, but he’s the most famous one that has done that type of hybrid.”
Shyne says that’s the purpose of life — “to imagine new things, to push boundaries.”
He continues, “And you may take it for granted, but in Belize, that’s not how our young people are thinking. That’s not how our society’s thinking. And so I feel it’s up to me to blaze that trail and that’s exactly what I’m doing. They call me a convict, they call me a deportee, they call me criminal, that I shouldn’t be in the House of Representatives — and I’ve shattered those more in the last week than any foreign minister in the history of Belize.”
Shyne won the House of Representatives seat for Mesopotamia in November 2020. With Diddy’s help, he secured a visa and was able to come back to the United States last month for the first time in 12 years in an effort to improve relations between the U.S. and Belize by meeting with senators and members of Congress. His story is nothing short of inspiring and will undoubtedly show his fans giving up is never an option.
“I hope everyone that sees all that’s happening for me, they’re inspired because all of us have what I have inside them,” he says. “You mostly just got to find it. And I guarantee that they can find it and they can have their happiness and redemption and their vindication.”