“I never had hope, until I sold dope…”
Truth be told, it’s been damn near a year since anything Shyne-related traveled across my iPod. However, hearing “That’s Gangsta” by The Artist Formerly Known As Jamal Barrow provided a welcomed revisit while reminding me of four simple yet distinctive things about the video at the same damn time.
1. Yes, that’s an actual pit bull being hung. Maybe PETA didn’t know who Shyne was or didn’t care at the time, but even still, that’s a ballsy move to put such a depiction in a music video.*
2. I remember being about 13 when this video/song dropped. Po was never going to be confused with the greatest rapper ever – although his debut has grown on me over the years – but he did flash moments of brilliance. This being one of them.
3. Ten years from now when I pen my Hip-Hop “what if’s” book, “What if Shyne never went to jail?” will be one of the most fun to debate because I honestly have no clue. Maybe Puff jerks him out of his money like so many other before and after him. Maybe he continues to build the star he was crafting before he shot up the club. No clue, really, but seven times out of 10 he doesn’t evolve into the man he is now. And maybe that’s for better and worse. It also would have been interesting to see how the rise of 50 Cent would have altered if Shyne doesn’t do “three-hots-and-a-cot” for a dime.*
4. Not that his harbors any meaning to the quality of the song and/or video in question, I always thought the guy walking with Shyne resembled Wilt Chamberlain.***
* – Ok, the dog’s NOT being hung. Instead, this tactic strengthens its jaw. You learn something new everyday.
** – Most likely it probably doesn’t and Fif still goes on to mega-success backed by Dre and Marshall, but from a mainstream level, that lane of New York street Hip-Hop was there for the taking in 2002/2003.
*** – Forgive me, Hip-Hop, for I have sinned. I hand you my rap card to be detained for three weeks. Unlike D.O.C., I can stand to do better. He did look like Wilt a little bit though.