Any gangsta rapper worth his weight in 20-inch rims has to make a prison album. Unfortunately, Shyne never really launched his music career before getting hit with a 10-year bid for his involvement in an altercation at a New York City nightclub. P. Diddy, who originally signed Shyne to Bad Boy, was indicted for his alleged role in the same bust-up but acquitted. Shyne doesn’t talk much about it on Godfather, indicating that his vocals were recorded well before his legal woes began. A more compelling (and honest) album would address these issues directly — Shyne must have something to say about doing pen time while Diddy chills in the Hamptons lapping Cristal from the navels of supermodels. Instead, he goes after an easy target: 50 Cent. On “For the Record,” Shyne raps through the telephone wire, presumably from prison: You don’t wanna ride/You wanna get rich and hide/Those niggas woulda died/If they shot me nine times. Early on, Shyne was touted as the heir to the Notorious B.I.G., and his buttery baritone and fluid delivery are a solid approximation. But without Biggie’s clever wit and flair, Shyne dulls quickly. Given that he now has plenty of time on his hands, one hopes that Shyne can put his thoughts to paper and reflect rather than recapitulate the gangsta stereotypes that landed him in prison in the first place.

Categories: Music