Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
1/27/2005 6:41:16 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include Shyne.
Imprisoned hip hop rap artist Shyne is looking to bolt from Universal Music's Island Def Jam Records, where last year he signed a multimillion-dollar joint venture deal, after clashing with IDJ boss Antonio "L.A." Reid, The Post has learned.
Negotiations about an exit from the deal are in the works, sources said, and if an exit can be worked out, other record companies — including Warner Music and Sony, which courted him before — are expected to vie for his services.
Sources said Shyne has clashed with Reid over the amount of marketing and promotion IDJ did for his last album — "Godfather Buried Alive" — and his belief that Reid is not committed to hip-hop artists.
At the same time, a court has complicated matters by invoking New York's "Son of Sam" Laws — which bar convicted felons from profiting from their crimes — and has temporarily barred Universal from distributing any money to Shyne, sources said.
The Rapper's lawyers are fighting the temporary injunction.
In a handwritten letter addressed to Reid and dated Jan. 25 — a copy of which was obtained by The Post — Shyne wrote, "Unfortunately this partnership is not working . . . Please prove Russell Simmons wrong. Show that you are concerned about this culture and more important, the prophet that sits in a cage, Shyne!"
A spokesperson for Def Jam declined comment on the relationship between the label and Shyne.
A source close to Reid said he has not seen any letter from Shyne.
Simmons, the founder of Def Jam who has since left the label, lashed out publicly last August at Reid — who prior to becoming the head of IDJ made his career in the more polished worlds of pop and R&B music.
In an open letter, Simmons voiced concerns about the hip-hop label he founded and mentioned Shyne: "Will the new transition team at Def Jam see Shyne for the potential he has to become a Spiritual Prophet as he defines himself or will he be reduced to the thug that the street is racing to define him as?"
Reid joined Def Jam last year after he was let go by BMG's Arista Records.
His tenure thus far has been marked by turmoil. In addition to Simmons' letter, several executives have been pushed out, including former president Kevin Liles, who negotiated the Shyne deal before resigning from Def Jam.
Liles now works at Warner Music, along with Reid's predecessor at IDJ, hip-hop mogul Lyor Cohen, who is CEO of Warner Music U.S.
Recently, rapper Jay-Z was named president of Def Jam, and a source said he visited Shyne last week at Riker's Island — where he was being held temporarily while depositions were being given in a civil case — to try to smooth things over, but to no avail.
Shyne is serving 10 years in an upstate prison for his role in a 1999 Manhattan nightclub shooting involving Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, who was acquitted on similar charges.
Shyne's first album under his IDJ deal, "Godfather Buried Alive," was released in August and sold more than 500,000 copies.
He plans to release a second album in April.
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