Rapper Shyne on relationship with Diddy: ‘I did go through bitterness’

Deported to his native Belize upon prison release, Moses "Shyne" Barrow has since been appointed the country's ambassador of music.

Rapper-turned-Belizean politician Moses Barrow — better known as Shyne — opened up about his relationship with former label head Sean “Diddy” Combs. 

On Dec. 27, 1999, a then 21-year-old Barrow accompanied the Bad Boy Records mogul-artist and his then-girlfriend, actress Jennifer Lopez, to Club New York. An altercation occurred at the bar, and shots rang out, leaving three people injured.

On the popular Drink Champs podcast Friday, Belizean politician Moses Barrow (above) — better known as rapper Shyne — opened up about his relationship with former label head Sean “Diddy” Combs. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com)

Barrow was arrested and subsequently charged with attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment; he was convicted at trial two years later. Combs — who also arrested, then charged with five counts of bribery and gun possession — was acquitted.

Incarcerated from 2001 through 2009, Barrow renamed himself Moses Michael Levi from Jamal Michael in 2006 after a conversion to orthodox Judaism. Deported to his native Belize upon his release from prison, he’s since been appointed his country’s ambassador of music, tasked with the sustainable development of the music industry in the Caribbean nation. 

In an appearance Friday on the popular Drink Champs podcast, hosted by N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, Barrow spoke about the shooting and how it affected his relationship with Combs. 

“I don’t really blame that on him now as much as I did then,” Barrow explains near the 39-minute mark of the episode, “because I did go through a stage of bitterness. But 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.”

“He’s a $100 million corporation, and they looked at me as the enemy,” he continued. “This is how many years ago? This is 20-something years ago. Puff is still young relatively. So he’s much younger then, 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,” Barrow maintained. “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. 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.”

Dressed in a suit that reflected his new profession, Barrow revisited his foray into politics. He was elected the Leader of the Opposition at the House of Representatives in Belize in 2020. Combs supported his efforts at the time. “BELIZE I’m so proud of my brother @shyne_bz and the journey he is on,” the Bad Boy boss wrote then on Instagram. “He is running for the House of Representatives and needs your support. #BadBoy4Life,” per Hip-Hop Wired.  

According to Complex, Barrow said that when his country’s government attempted to pass a measure that would restrict ex-convicts from running for office, Combs again lent his support.

“Diddy lost it when he heard that,” Barrow revealed. “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.”

Barrow was granted a visa to re-enter the U.S. last August, and he traveled to Atlanta to engage the entertainment community and share business opportunities in Belize.

Have you subscribed to theGrio podcasts “Dear Culture” or “Acting Up?” Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.com today!