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Gangsta rapper Shyne, now an Orthodox Jew, plans comeback


URL: http://www.jewishjournal.com/music/article/gangsta_rapper_shyne_now_an_orthodox_jew_plans_comeback_20110103

It was early on during his difficult, isolated years in prison that the former gangsta rapper known as Shyne decided to formally take on the laws of Judaism as his own. Shyne, who legally changed his name in prison from Jamaal Barrows to Moses Levi -- Moses is one of his favorite biblical heroes, and Levi is for the Levites who were musicians during Temple times -- remembers the initial skepticism he encountered from prison rabbis at New York’s Rikers Island, where he was first incarcerated, and the other prison rabbis that would follow. "In prison culture, everyone is trying to make a scam, everyone is a con artist, so who is this dark-skinned guy they wondered? Does he just want the Jewish food?" asks Levi, now cloaked in the black garb of a Chasidic Jew and living in Jerusalem.

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