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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 - HIPHOP DX





The streets were flooded with urban philosophers, covered with black ski masks, heavy wool scarves and fatigue down jackets, packed with feathers that kept them warm. Their eyes moved slowly around the street corners, while the sounds of Shyheim’s 1993 rugged hip-hop track “On and On,” inspired the Staten Island locals to be creative- until they couldn’t think anymore.

Their hands froze, their phones chirped, their eyes glistened in the New York silhouette, while their heads bobbed, back and forth as a symbol of empathy. Faces with smiles, smirks and sounds of laughter overshadowed the reality of struggle, as the music lovers’ reminisced of the “Rugged Child” and his sharp, poised approach to hip-hip.

Years and years of snatching mics, writing rhymes and promoting “love, loyalty, respect, trust and honor,” the edgy looking, brown-skinned, slim emcee that used passion as a tool, truth as a guide and conviction as motivation, was being thought of as a sub-culture legend.

After sharing the stage with legendary emcees, Christopher “Biggie” Wallace, Tupac Shakur and Big Daddy Kane at Madison Square Garden, the then 14-year-old Shyheim the “Manchild” was being embraced as one of the youngest, yet illest emcees to ever touch the mic. His prestige and dedication also landed him an appearance on Big Daddy Kane’s “Show & Prove,” which featured Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Sauce Money, Scoob Lover and Grammy Award winning emcee, Jay-Z.

After being the youngest member of the prestigious Wu-Tang Clan, Shyheim landed a video appearance in TLC’s “Waterfalls,” roles in films: Original Gangstas, In Too Deep, and The Preacher’s Wife and also starred in the television show, The Parent Hood. Shyheim also released four albums including: AKA the Rugged Child (1994), The Lost Generation (1996), Manchild (1999), and The Greatest Story Never Told (2004). For the last 14 years, the extraordinary emcee has succeeded and survived both his in and out industry struggles.

After being arrested in 2001, the young emcee served a prison sentence that led to a 2-year time-out. The Staten Island emcee eager and ready to express his story, weighed his options, evaluated his past and placed his option to win, as his only way back into hip-hop culture.

In 2007, Shyheim Franklin started Bottom Up Records as an opportunity for emerging artists to receive a complete opportunity to record music, learn about the behind the scenes aspects of the industry and to also prep them in company ownership.

With his new vision, an upcoming book and his fifth project on Bottom Up set for release in late 2008, Shyheim plans to once again bring those hip-hop lovers to their speakers to nod their heads, in homage of quality music.