Shyne

Shyne

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The long-awaited debut by Notorious B.I.G.'s successor on Puff Daddy's Bad Boy label, Shyne, follows through on its promise to present a thuggish, hardcore equivalent to the seemingly irreplaceable, deceased gangsta superstar. The album unfortunately comes across as far too contrived, seeming staged and overly theatrical. From the opening monologue ("Dear America, I'm only what you made me/Young, black, and f*cking crazy/Maybe if all you niggas were building schools instead of prisons, I'd stop living the way I'm living/Probably not/I'm so used to serving rocks and burning blocks"), there's little denying that Shyne is trying to be what his audience wants him to be: the hardest rapper yet, harder than 2Pac, Biggie, and DMX. His efforts here are indeed commendable, particularly considering the precedent he's following, but ultimately this is a rather forgettable album, on a par with other here-today, gone-tomorrow post-Biggie Bad Boy releases like Black Rob's Life Story (1999) and G. Dep's Child of the Ghetto (2001).

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