I spend a lot of my time listening to music to which being labelled "shite" would be a compliment. I believed that I'd engage in many more hours of time wasting with reviewing Shyne's self titled LP. Surprisingly, and to my delight, this wasn't altogether the case.
I'd first heard Shyne on a Total remix early on in '99, and though many had stated Shyne was simply a Biggie clone, I found elements of Slick Rick's voice within Shyne's. Either way, the Slick Rick/Biggie meshed voice is how Shyne sounds to those who haven't already heard him. This rapper didn't particularly impress me on that track, nor on subsequent joints I'd heard. So, prior to playing the LP, my thoughts were pretty negative about how it would sound.
The album kicks off with a "spoken letter"; 'Dear America.' Shyne recites his words like a reasonably well-written poem, and it is pretty entertaining. It isn't the usual generic content, which we've come to expect from Bad Boy since Biggie's death.
'Shyne' features a host of slightly below average joints. For example 'That's Gangsta,' although it features a pretty nice beat, features an average session of rhymes and a very generic hook. The beat is the best part of the track, which is at least something. Then there's 'It's Okay,' with the pitiful hook and below average rhymes. And, as I'd predicted, there are some shitty joints, my least favourite being 'You Shine.' I say this frequently, get people who aren't huge hook fans to check your hooks before releasing your material. 'Spend Some Cheese' should have that done to it, its hook removed. It would be a much better track with the hook's beat removed and either no hook or an alternate one to replace what is settled in there right now.
Production on the LP is pretty solid, in fact on quite a few tracks, the beat will be the outstanding aspect on there. 'The Life' features a really nice beat, but it manages to outshine everything Shyne adds to it, unfortunately that isn't too much. The beat has a medieval feel to it - well created. 'Badboyz' (the improved version with Barrington Levy added) is on here too, and those familiar with it will know the beat isn't too shabby. Another fairly well produced track is 'Niggas Gone Die,' produced by The Neptunes. I do think, however, Shyne was a complete idiot in making this track, and adding it to his LP considering his current situation. Isn't he still up on charges of shooting someone? I believe so, and this track doesn't exactly make him seem that innocent.
The finest cut on Shyne's self titled LP is the Nashiem Myrick produced 'Commission.' An extremely dope beat was provided and Shyne "shines" above it, plus guess what? The hook isn't unbearable. Definitely the LP's beat.
Shyne impressed me with this album. Although there are plenty of instances on here which I would prefer corrected, it is an album, which grows on you with further listens. 'Shyne' doesn't shine as much as he could have, but Shyne does to a surprising extent.