Rapper Shyne On Judaism, Race and Being a Centrist.

Jamal Michael Barrow, better known as rapper Shyne, has, at the age of 34, already lived a hell of a life. Born in Belize to the now-prime minister of that country, he rose to hip hop fame as part of the Bad Boy Records roster, and spent nearly a decade behind bars for his involvement in a now-infamous 1999 NYC nightclub shooting – a shooting for which many say he took the rap in place of his mentor, Sean “Diddy” Combs. Upon his release, Shyne was deported from the US, found new direction in Orthodox Judaism, and even dabbled in political punditry. His story is not, by any stretch, a typical one.

Recently, Shyne sat down with VladTV and spoke candidly about his Jewish faith. It’s a remarkable interview in that it’s rare to hear a celebrity – especially one with forelocks tucked under an LA Kings cap – speak so openly about faith, ritual, and what they consider the factors that make a person “good”. As Shyne puts it

If you know more gemara [Talmudic legal commentary] than I do? Doesn’t make you better than me. Now, if you’re kinder than I am, if you’re more generous than I am, if you’re more tolerant, if you’re more understanding, if you’re more patient than I am – that qualifies you to be better.

Check it out:

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Heeb's Managing Editor knows more about Iggy Pop than you. You can follow him on twitter (@Thejewishdream) if you'd like.

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