Shyne, a Notorious B.I.G protégé, is due for big things. Although he has just been released from a 10-year stint in prison with a conviction of attempted murder and assault, Shyne has already signed a deal with Def Jam Records, and is expected by many to become one of the biggest hip-hop stars of 2011.
But what makes this rapper so special?
Not only does he have a voice that is eerily similar to the late Notorious B.I.G, but Shyne is also a newly reformed Hasidic Jew.
Shyne, born Jamal Michael Barrow, is the son of Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow and a woman of Ethiopian Jewish decent. With his father not in the picture, he was raised by his mother in the United States.
In 1999, Shyne was well on his way to becoming the next big rapper, when he was involved in a shooting that left three people injured. The 23-year-old rapper, whose debut album was pending release, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
While in prison, Shyne says he discovered himself, as he began to learn Torah and eat only kosher meals. It was in prison that Shyne legally changed his name from Jamal Michael Barrow, to Moshe Levi Ben-David, to reflect his grandmother’s Jewish heritage.
Once released from prison, Shyne wanted to continue learning about Judaism, and went to Israel, to study intensive religious studies. He is currently making plans to become an Israeli citizen.
Now, at the age of 32, Shyne has begun making music again, having already released his new tune Roller Song. In the music video for Roller Song, Shyne can be seen wearing his religious undergarments.
However, left with unresolved "issues" from his checkered past, Shyne said he sings from a place of pain, yet strives "to find the light within my darkness."
This is why he says he chooses to embrace a Hasidic approach to Judaism and spends hours in prayer and study every day.
"I want to be one of the most successful entertainers that ever walked the face of the earth so I can be one of the greatest contributors to humankind, and it won't be easy. So that's why I gotta be a Hasid: I gotta do more because I want more. I've got big dreams, man, and being a Hasid is the only way for my dreams to come true."
Watch out Matisyahu, you may have some competition!