(x-posted to KFAR) New York Times has a feature story on Diddy Sean Combs protege Shyne’s conversion to Orthodox Judaism. Interviewing him in Jerusalem, where he know lives, Dina Kraft finds Shyne, aka Moses Levi, at the Kotel wearing Hasidic chic, hurring to make a minyan with Ethiopians before Shabbat. His adherence to strict halacha (Jewish law) appears to be his attonement for his well publicized youthful misadvaentrues which landed him a decade in prison. Shyne still is recording, however:
Later, with Mr. Goldsmith in the rental car he uses to get around, Mr. Levi sampled tracks from two new albums, “Messiah” and “Gangland,” that are to be released in a joint venture with Def Jam Records. The deal suggests the clout he holds despite not having released an album since 2004. He put the volume on high as he drove through the traffic-clogged roads of an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood.
In songs like “Am I a Sinner?” he casts his spiritual quest as an escape from prison life and pain, with lyrics like, “Look in your soul and you will find vision that you can’t see through the eye.”
The interview continues over hummus and pita as Shyne prepares for Talmud study session with R. Jeff Siedel. Sounds like Shyne has found a home in the rigidity of Orthodoxy, if not Jerusalem. His respect for law and Rabbis seem sincere. We’d like to know what these Rabbis feel about the hip-hop music that reflects this journey. And I’d like to hear it.