Recently we got a chance to chat with Shyne over the phone from his home in Belize. The emcee had a lot on his mind, and we spoke on subjects ranging from prison and education to his upcoming album and movie projects. Check out what he had to say…
GG: Let’s talk about your current single ‘Roller Song.’ Could you explain to those who don’t know what a roller is, and why you chose to go with that song to spearhead your new project?
Shyne: A roller is a dude from the street putting it in. A roller is a dude off of the block, dodging the pen or dodging the grave. A roller is that every day dude in the trailer park, rolling 60s, whereever he’s at, trying to get it. Struggling, suffering, standing up, keeping his mouth shut, going through what he needs to go through. That’s what a roller is. And as I say in the record – ‘ex-con, can’t get no job’ – if you’ve got 3 strikes they won’t even let you be a garbage man. What choice does he have? So a roller ain’t that dude that’s playing around, trying to be tough just to be tough. A roller is that dude that has absolutely no choice but to live the life that he lives. It’s the only way he knows, it’s the only option they’ve created for him because they build prisons instead of schools. So a roller is just a product of what the right-wing republicans and the democrats that don’t care created.
GG: It’s interesting that you said, they build prisons instead of schools. Black males have the highest incarceration rate in the United States by far I wanted to ask you – how do you think we as a society go about reversing that statistic?
Shyne: I heard the president say that he felt that ex-cons should get a break. I’ve got to do some more research to see what he’s doing about it, but as far as me what I’ll try to do once I get back to the states – when you’re voting for the people you have got to make your vote count. A lot of these entertainers and athletes need to start stepping up, they’ve got a voice, they’ve got a platform, they need to start caring. Start caring about why these young bloods are going in to the grave or going into the pen, and start pressuring these people in the position to build a school instead of a prison to do the right thing. Obviously, you can’t save everybody but they could do much, much more than they’re doing. So my thing is just to get actively involved, and just let the people in the position to make these decisions know that it’s to everybody’s benefit to make a kid a scholar or Harvard graduate instead of a Riker’s Island alumni. It just makes practical sense.
GG: Right. Recently, you’ve spoken a lot about your homeland of Belize and your plans to help build infrastructure their and uplift the people. Can you speak on that and what Belize menas to you personally?
Shyne: It’s one of my three favorite places – Israel, New York, and Belize. Belize is definitely a project for the rest of my life. I’m going to do everything I can to make that country the place to be – to bring tourists there, develop the country, industrialize it, build it up. There’s so many nearby countries – you go to Panama and they’ve got high rises looking like the World Trade. So many countries right near by, touching Belize is so great it’s essential for everything. It’s got the Mayan ruins, exotic, tropic, everything you could imagine so there’s no reason for everybody not going down there. So it’s my thing, by god’s grace, I could keep making these records, putting these videos out to my audience and that can register to Belize. Putting these movies out with Mark Whalberg, Antoine Fuqqa, and just bring awareness to my country and get business me