Shyheim

Manchild

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At the ripe age of 14, Shyheim (the youngest affiliate of the Wu-Tang Clan) released his debut, Aka The Rugged Child, which made it abundantly clear that he was genetically predisposed to rock a mic. However, the prodigy's next effort, The Lost Generation, was less momentous, coming and going without the same fanfare or critical adulation. Even though Shyheim has spent the last four years fashioning his talents to the silver screen, the prolonged layoff has done little to diminish his God-given abilities. Successfully transitioning from adolescent thug to astute street philosopher, Shyheim broadens his lyrical horizons on Manchild, exposing a vulnerability that his earlier work did not allude to; a good example is his search for innocence lost on the introspective title track. While Shyheim loses focus on "Spectacular" and the extremely misogynistic "Cease Fire (Wildflower 2000)," he reaps the benefit of two posthumous appearances from underground icon Big L, who adds his verbal flamboyance on "Furious Anger" and his production flare on "Trust It's On." Shyheim's most heart-wrenching ode, "Unconditional Love," reflects on his mother's struggles with chemical dependency. But, in what becomes a recurring theme, this emotional roller coaster clashes rudely with the jubilant pop production that accompanies it.

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