New York Times Profiles Shyne’s New-Found Judaism

    Here’s a nutty/sincere story: The New York Times has profiled “rapper” Shyne Barrow, who has, since being released from prison, changed his name to Moses Levi and living as an Orthodox Jew. He’s also been living in Jerusalem, studying the Torah and readying his comeback album. It’s a pretty interesting read. Here’s a sampling:


    Mr. Levi speaks in the style of the urban streets but combines his slang with Yiddish-accented Hebrew words and references to the “Chumash” (the bound version of the Torah, pronounced khoo-MASH) and “Halacha” (Jewish law, pronounced ha-la-KHAH).


    As in: “There’s nothing in the Chumash that says I can’t drive a Lamborghini,” and “nothing in the Halacha about driving the cars I like, about the lifestyle I live.” As a teenager he started reading the Bible, relating to the stories of King David and Moses that he had first heard from his grandmother. At 13 (bar mitzvah age, he notes) he began to identify himself as “an Israelite,” a sensibility reinforced after finding out his great-grandmother was Ethiopian; he likes to wonder aloud whether she might have been Jewish.

    Now, if only Shyne’s rapping was this revealing or interesting. Read the story here.