Where The Hell Have You Been: Shyheim
January 28th, 2008 | Author: Dominque “A.H.L.O.T.” Howse / HHDX
In 1994, the then 14-year old emcee Shyheim the Manchild had a major record deal, several television placements and had already touched mics with the best of the best, including 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G. and Big Daddy Kane. The young man was a product of the pre-Rudy era of New York, cursing, swearing, and growling into the mic, arguably before his voice dropped. Shyheim was a prodigy far different than what rap witnessed in Lil Bow Wow or even B.G. From a lost era, with a lost story, Shyheim was deemed fitting for a HipHopDX “Where the Hell Have You Been?” feature.
There was a bit of excitement rushing through our veins, yet we were sure that this was also an opportunity he was flattered with, due to the idea of him venting and displaying his side of Shaolin, behind the 36 chambers.
After being incarcerated and dismembering himself from the Wu, Shyheim came clean to HipHopDX, to talk about his battles with success, his days as the youngest member of the [extended] Wu-Tang family, and the formulation of his Bottom Up imprint. With a now-public beef with Raekwon and a diss record attached [click here], the 29-year old, rugged emcee from Staten Island opens up about his relationship with the Wu family (or lack thereof). Although this interview took place prior to the Raekwon diss, the seeds were already planted as DX gets to the root of the problems between Shyheim and Wu Tang. The Manchild is all grown up, and he reveals his wisdom with candor.
HipHopDX: Itâ€™s been a long time since youâ€™ve been in mainstream media. Whatâ€™s been going on since your humble beginnings as an emcee/actor?
Shyheim: I had an album out and it was called, Man Child I was on Wu-Tang Recordsâ€¦that was umm, I wanna say â€™99 and that was around the same time I was on The Parent Hood- the television show and I was in In Too Deep, the movie that had just dropped. I didnâ€™t know how to separate entertainment and being a recording artist from real life. With that said, I was livinâ€™ a double life. I come from an era where you couldnâ€™t say it if you didnâ€™t do it. You know what Iâ€™m sayinâ€™? So, all the shit I was talking about I was actually doing.
I caught a few cases, and I was on the run for a few years, which really strained my relationship with Wu-Tang because it was likeâ€¦as a business, we need to put this album out but the law is looking for you. I was looking at them like, “Yo, we from the same hood.” What you mean, â€œGo turn ya self in?â€ To the police? They wanted me to turn myself in. I wasnâ€™t feeling that. I decided to go on the run. I was on the run until I got caught and so I went to prison for three to three-and-a half years. It was on The Source cover, â€œHip Hop Behind Bars.â€ I came home a couple years ago and started up an independent record label called, Bottom Up Records. I released an album called The Greatest Story Never Told.
Itâ€™s new for me because I never had my career in my hands. I was a kid and I had people making decisions for me. With my time away, I read a lot up on the industry. At the time, I had a lot of personal experiences in the industry, but I really didnâ€™t have the book knowledge and so I educated myself. I came home and now Iâ€™m in tune with all the hottest shit out here in Staten Island. It’s not just Wu-Tang. Itâ€™s a big world and itâ€™s a big place out here. We on the come up, right now.
DX: Being that youâ€™re still under 30, you have an interesting story to tell. If people really wanted to, they could place your story into a book or make it into a film and it would possibly be a fascinating display. If you could name that film or book that reflected your experiences, what would you call it and why?
S: A â€œScarred Star.â€ The reason I would call it a â€œScarred Starâ€ is because I was scarred and had 300 stitches from the middle of my eyebrows to my cheek. It happened at a nightclub in Staten Island, when gang banginâ€™ hit hard in New York. Like I said, I was caught in the middle of that shit because I was a celebrity, but I was still with my friends and we were street niggas. I was caught up, real bad and I really didnâ€™t have the guidance or the direction from someone to point me in the right direction.
I would call it a â€œScarred Starâ€ for several different reasons. Iâ€™ve been scarred mentally, physically, emotionally and as an artist. Iâ€™m one of those artists where my credentials and stats that I have, nobody in the game has those. Nobody has had two halftimes. Iâ€™m at a halftime in my career, as well as in my life. The first half, I was a kid who had a lot of things accomplished, so I think me coming back aroundâ€¦interests a lot of people because I was on a hiatus and it gave me room to grow as a man. I believe people are down to hear whatâ€™s on my mind. Check for me.
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