MTV News' Sway: Before you even came out on wax, you had a lot of attention on you as an artist. How did that come about?
Shyne: I went around the industry, spittin' for the top execs: Silvia Rhone, Tommy Mottola, Jimmy Iovine, Russell Simmons. They were all feeling the way I was doing it. Then Puff [Daddy] got involved. People just heard [about] this little G running around, putting it down.
MTV: What made you decide to go with Puffy and Bad Boy Records as opposed to all the other labels?
Shyne: When I was in the streets, doing what I do -- you're watching TV, you listen to radio -- [Bad Boy] was just doing it. Mase, [Puffy], B.I.G., LOX, Faith, Total, 112 -- that was it. For me, it was like [Chicago Bulls coach] Phil Jackson telling me, "Yo, you're coming outta high school? You come straight to the Bulls. I got a spot for you."
MTV: There were rumors that there was a lot of money being thrown at you. It was basically a bidding war. Seven figures, six figures...
Shyne: I just got whatever any other kid that's coming up and people see potential [in would get]. It wasn't nothing like that. It was just business.
MTV: Before people heard of Shyne, they heard about "this rapper who sounds a lot like Biggie." They said that you had the same voice, the same delivery. How do you respond to that, when people say you sound like B.I.G.?
Shyne: Honestly, I don't really think people do that no more. It took some time for me to really grow and for me to really claim my spot. But with my album and my new singles out, "Bad Boyz" and "That's Gangsta," [people are] really starting to realize, "Yo, that's Shyne." I just think overall, man, the record wouldn't be getting responded to the way it's getting responded to if people thought it was some funny business. It took some time for me to claim my spot. I had to grow. But I think where we at now, man, people ain't really on it like that.
MTV: Lil' Kim made reference to you in one of her songs, where she said everybody's trying to "'shine' off of B.I.G." She was a friend of Biggie's, a friend of Puffy's, and in the same camp as you. How do you respond to that?
Shyne: That ain't for me to respond to; the people have spoken. It's just that simple. If that's how people felt --like I said, man, I came out with records before "Bad Boyz," and it just wasn't what it's supposed to be, so people weren't going for it. It's really that simple. I came out with "Bad Boyz" and "That's Gangsta," and the people spoke. So anybody can say what they want to say. The most important thing is the people, especially with the music I make. I make music for the streets. I wouldn't even be here talking to you if the streets ain't feeling me the way they were supposed to be. The music I make ain't that music that just anybody's gonna get. Once the streets get in, the streets don't lie. The streets is gonna let you know your money. The streets said I'm good, so I'm good.
MTV: You can't help but notice the big scar on your shoulder on your album cover. What's the story?
Shyne: I got shot, and that's basically it. It wasn't in no club. It was just in the streets, the 'hood around the way.
Shyne puts his gangster down and ponders his future... NEXT >>>