To this point Shyne’s career has largely been based on gimmicks. First he signed with Bad Boy, the label that was put on the map by a man that he happened to sound strikingly similar to. After his debut was met with decent fanfare, things took a turn for the worse for Shyne Po. I certainly don’t need to tell the deal now, because your reading of this review is a homage to the current gimmick plaguing Shyne. Maybe I shouldn’t say plagued, since he is making money by having his incarceration exploited. Then again, he isn’t making nearly as much as Def Jam is.
Now, none of that is to say Shyne is a gimmick rapper. He could have made it on his own merits, he just hasn’t really needed to due to some unscrupulous individuals. Shyne is not a ground breaking emcee by any means, but in terms of a thugged out NY emcee he is in the upper echelon. “Godfather: Buried Alive” is a collection of songs that were completed (or largely completed), before Shyne began his sentence. Helping him to make noise is the man of 2004 Kanye West, who produced his single “More or Less.” Much like the Buckwild blessed “Quasi OG,” “More or Less” proves that Shyne operates best over darker and slower beats. This is further proved by the failed “Behind The Walls (East Coast Gangsta Mix).” Swizz Beats casio stylings on “Shyne” also do not justice to Shyne. From here, things pretty much go from bad to worse. From his uninspired and poorly recorded 50 Cent diss “For The Record” to the booty ass collabo with Ashanti “Jimmy Choo,” things fall apart quickly. Even songs like “Martyr” in which Shyne comes correct lyrically, it is butchered by a boring beat and an insipid chorus. The worst of the lot is “The Gang” featuring Foxy Brown which is an insult to the classic “Verbal Intercourse” that is rips off. The only saving grace of the second half of the album is “The Edge,” a gritty street banger that shows Shyne at his finest, and “Diamonds and Mac 10’s.” Don’t be fooled by the title, and don’t get too caught up in Just Blaze’s slick production.
This album sounds like it was thrown together from a collection of leftovers and makeshift songs. Hmmm, I wonder why that is? Should you spend your money on something that features material recorded over a prison phone? That is your call. For his part, Shyne performs well and met my own expectations of him. As an album, this isn’t anything but a few good songs and plenty of others that could have executed much better. Either way, considering how Diddy and the justice system did Shyne, it is nice to see him get some opportunities in his situation, even if it is for the wrong reasons.