Shyne, real name Jamal Barrow, has a long history with the “can’t stop, won’t stop” music executive spanning over twenty years. In 2001, the “That’s Gangsta” rapper was found guilty of multiple charges related to a 1999 nightclub shooting that left three people injured in New York; the same incident in which Diddy nearly lost his career over, though he was ultimately acquitted.
Now, 20 years after the ordeal and a few public exchanges, the Belizean rapper-turned-politician says any feelings of bitterness have subsided.
“I don’t really blame that on him now as much as I did then. Because I did go through a stage of bitterness,” said Shyne during an appearance on “Drink Champs.” In fact, the Belize House of Representatives member says over the years he has grown to take a more charitable view of Combs’ action at their trial in which Shyne was convicted of five charges as Diddy was acquitted on all counts.
“In retrospect, I blame it more on the lawyers that were advising him. Because his lawyers were there to secure a ‘not guilty’ verdict by any means.” During the highly publicized trial Shyne’s defense for drawing his weapon during a heated argument was solely to protect Diddy and to save his own life, not to put others at risk.
“He’s a $100 million corporation and they looked at me as the enemy. This is 20-something years ago. Puff is still young relatively. So he’s much younger then [31 during the 2001 trial] and it’s a lot of pressure. He’s about to lose everything. I’m about to lose everything. I’m from that though. Diddy is a musician, but he wasn’t from that. So his response shouldn’t be expected to be my response,” he continued.
“When your lawyers are misleading you and misguiding you, that’s how everything fell apart. And he said that to me. He said, ‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have never listened to those lawyers.’ I forgave him. It was traumatic,” he added. “I would forgive him and then you might hear me a few months later going in on him. That was over a decade ago and I was in a different space then…I can’t carry twenty-three years with me in a negative way.”
In 2009, after serving nearly a decade behind bars, Shyne was released from prison and deported back to his home country of Belize. There he turned his life around, shook the days of rapping and became involved in politics. While vying for his current seat in his country’s House of Representatives, the former rapper was nearly blocked by a proposed amendment that would prohibit those convicted of crimes from holding public office. When he needed support the most Diddy stepped up.
“Diddy lost it when he heard that. He got the Revolt people involved, he got the publicists, he got his legislative friends. He said, ‘We can’t let this happen.’ Puff, to me, totally redeemed himself and is my brother and I love him.” Last August the two men reunited after decades apart. In his first trip to the U.S. as a diplomat, Shyne credited Diddy with helping him build political bridges in the country he once called home.
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