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Shyne Talks Judaism Conversion and Name Change

Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Four years ago, in the midst of serving a 10-year sentence for a now-infamous New York club shooting involving Sean “Diddy” Combs, word got out that Shyne had formally converted to Judaism and changed his name to Moses Levi. Now free, and the subject of a new cover story in ‘XXL’ magazine, Shyne has explained what the conversion and name change was all about.

“The only person I could think of that has such a great relationship with God was Moses,” Shyne explained. “Like they say, he walked with God, talked to God face-to-face. You know, God will reveal himself in different ways, and people will have different connections. But, like, Moses f—ed with God. And being on the streets, surviving bullets, poverty, I dealt with God face-to-face.”

For Shyne, the religion was already within him before he knew about it. It was crucial to stumble upon the truth, though. For the Levi part of his new name, Shyne soon realized that he was Moses’ grandfather, so there was something inherently righteous about Moses from the beginning. It’s this sort of complex connection with the past that he’s aiming for with the new name.

“I don’t want to be like Jamal,” he continued. “I wanna be like Moses. And Levi, he was a singer, a priest — he was a musician. And so I’m a musician. And Levi, I didn’t even know, was Moses’ grandfather. Come to find out, everything you know it before you know it. It’s in you before you even understand the dynamics of it.”

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