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Shyne Biography

Home > Music > S > Shyne > Biography

Birth Name: Jamal Michael Barrow
Born: 1978/11/08
Birth Place: Belize City, Belize
Years Active: 1998 – present
Genres: Hip Hop

Shyne (born Jamal Michael Barrow, November 8, 1978 in Belize City, Belize) is a hip-hop artist and rapper. Shyne's father, Dean Barrow, was the Prime Minister of Belize at the time of his birth. His parents separated when he was a child with his mother moving to Brooklyn's Vanderveer Estates in East Flatbush, New York. Shyne remained with his uncle until he was 13 years old when he was able to join his mother in the states.

In 1998, while Shyne was freestyling in a barbershop, American hip hop producer Clark Kent discovered him and thought Shyne sounded eerily similar to the late, Notorious B.I.G.. At the time, Clark Kent was working on the “Born Again” posthumous album from B.I.G. He quickly took Shyne to the Bad Boy studios where Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, signed him on the spot. Not long after, Shyne started making appearances on recordings made by his Bad Boy Entertainment label-mates. He was notably featured on Mase's second album 1999’s “Double Up” and on a remix of Total's “Sittin At Home” single. That same year he featured on Bad Boy Records' chief executive Sean Combs' debut album “Forever.”

In December 1999, Shyne, along with Combs and his then girlfriend, Jennifer Lopez, allegedly was involved in a high-profile incident at a Manhattan night club, which left three people injured and the then 21-year-old rapper, whose debut album was pending release, facing charges of attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment.

Shyne managed to release his self-titled debut album in September 2000. The album featured guest appearances from Barrington Levy and 112's Slim, as well as production from Bad Boy's in house producers The Hitmen. Recorded prior to the rapper's arrest, the album reached #5 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

On July 2001, Shyne was sentenced to 10 years in prison. While many labels met with Shyne while he was at the Clinton Correctional Facility, the rapper ultimately signed with Def Jam Records for a $3 million contract. In 2004, Shyne released his second album “Godfather Buried Alive,” while imprisoned. The album, recorded prior to imprisonment and partially over the phone, hit #1 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Upon his release from his decade-long prison sentence in 2009 the Belize native was deported back to his homeland. In 2010 Shyne collaborated with reggae and rock musician Matisyahu, on the single “Messiah.” In 2011 Shyne appeared on the track "Outro", along with Bun B, Nas and Busta Rhymes from Lil Wayne's platinum-selling ninth studio album “Tha Carter IV.” In 2012, Shyne released a mixtape titled “Gangland.”