by: Shyne

The long-awaited debut by Notorious B.I.G.'s successor on Puff Daddy's Bad Boy label, Shyne, follows through on its promise to present a thuggish, hardcore equivalent to the seemingly irreplaceable, deceased gangsta superstar. From the opening monologue ("Dear America, I'm only what you made me/Young, black, and f*cking crazy/Maybe if all you niggas were building schools instead of prisons, I'd stop living the way I'm living/Probably not/I'm so used to serving rocks and burning blocks"), there's little denying that Shyne is trying to be what his audience wants him to be: the hardest rapper yet, harder than 2Pac, Biggie, and DMX. Although this is merely on a par with other here-today, gone-tomorrow post-Biggie Bad Boy releases like Black Rob's Life Story (1999) and G. Dep's Child of the Ghetto (2001), Shyne's efforts here are indeed commendable, particularly considering the precedent he's following. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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