MTV: You talk a lot about street life. Your album is pretty hardcore, some may say even violent. What was a typical day in the life of Shyne?
Shyne: Sometimes you can't see past the hour. You might have beef with somebody who lives right next door to you. It's like, any day you walk out there, you might die. You got to respect that and be a soldier about it and know, "Yo, this might be my last one." It's like that.
We be chillin' on the block; kid walk by, and if for a wrong look, pull out a tech and do what he's supposed to. For me, I grew up where lives ain't mean nothing. Nothing ain't mean nothing. That's what I see, so that's what I talk about.
MTV: Do you ever wish you could do something to change that mentality on the streets, or are you just gonna roll with the punches?
Shyne: Right now, that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to put my gangster down so these kids out there listen to me, and I can show them that the war ain't really between us. We're on the same side. There's a whole 'nother army out there that's killing us, letting us kill ourselves, and we don't see. But it's gonna take some time before they can really feel me, where they're gonna respect what I say. We're getting to know each other. That's how my music is. Me, me and my people, whoever feels me, and all the people out there that listen, we're getting to know each other. The more you get to know somebody, the more you respect them.
MTV: You said, "I'm trying to put my gangster down." What does that mean?
Shyne: Put your game down. Do what you're supposed to do. Handle your business.
MTV: Let's talk about December. There've been a lot of rumors since the incident that you were involved last December, with the gun case, that you've been recording a lot of tracks for a future album in case you have to go to jail. Is that true?
Shyne: Well, like I just told you. You asked me if I was gonna roll with the punches, or if I was gonna try and change that "Live for today, might die for today, and we don't care" [mentality]. I got to get to know my audience, let them get to know me, and that ain't gonna go in one album. That's why I just stay working, 'cause it's a gift from God. I don't have no rights when it comes to Him. When he feels he could take that from me, he could take that from me. But while I have this, I'm going to keep working.
MTV: Let's talk about your new album. You've got Barrington Levy on there, and you've got 112 featured on that album, but you don't have many other people on it. Why is that?
Shyne: That's just the way it went down, man. I've been through a lot in my 20 years on this earth; a lot of that I went through in the last three, four years of being in this game. I done seen hell. My music is my life, so that's what I talk about. I couldn't really share that with nobody. It was just really that simple. It was too personal. I fought too hard to get [here]. Fought too hard.
MTV: In the beginning of your album, there's a piece called "Dear America." Are you describing your life in this American society, or how American society treats people like you?
Shyne: I'm describing my life and the 20 million others. 'Cause it's a lot of kids like me, a lot of people like me. I ain't the only one who never get it twisted. I'm not trying to make it seem like I'm the only one that's been to hell and back. There's a lot of people still living in hell right now, and some of them don't have to be.
MTV: In the next 10 years of your life, do you ever see yourself getting married, having children, family, dog, picket fence, or will the remainder of your life be day by day, wondering if you're gonna make it to the next?
Shyne: Now it ain't really wondering if I'm gonna make it to the next day, thank God. It's more of, "I have today, and I'm [going to] do everything today and set it up for tomorrow." But even if I'm not here tomorrow, I'm putting it down so hard today. God put me here for a reason, man. I don't get it twisted. I've been to hell and back, but the only reason I came back was because of God. Only reason I'm sitting here is because of God.
You know how it's been for me in the last nine months. If God didn't move mountains and part seas for me, man, I don't know what would be happening right now, so I owe Him my life. That's why I take this music seriously. I make this music and I get with these kids out there, and I could really take them where they need to go. I just spend my days making this music and handling this responsibility I got, and that's really it. Whenever God decides it's gonna be a wrap for me, it's gonna be a wrap. But until then, it's really about my music. [RealVideo]
As far as picket fences and all that? That don't really matter to me, man. It's just about making this music and just really doing what God wants me to do. I'm still unfolding, still growing. I don't got the science broken down yet, you dig, but I know I'm here to do something. The fact that I'm not dead or in jail right now... I'm here to do something. I'm spending my days and my nights figuring that out.