Shyne speaks just weeks before he and Puff faces charges relating to a nightclub shooting last year...

Rapper and PUFF DADDY protege SHYNE has defended rap and hip hop against accusations of glamourising gun culture in the US, blaming instead inner-city economic problems, despite being about to face attempted murder charges relating to a nightclub shooting.

Shyne also drew a parallel between the rap glamourisation of ghetto gangsters and the links between stars such as Frank Sinatra and old-time mobsters.

“You know, the NRA (National Rifle Association) , the gun lobbyists, they make guns. You know, ain’t no uzis made in Harlem,” he said. “The problem is all to do with economics what you’re doing is you’re ignoring a problem that exists in America, and that’s why that problem is going to continue.”

Speaking on Politically Incorrect, a US politics and news satire show on the ABC network, Shyne, real name Jamal Barrow declared that “it’s World War II in the ghetto” calling on authorities to “take responsibility and start giving some educational funds to these inner-city communities”.

He went on: “Rappers are supposed to get a couple of million dollars and then change, but what I want to know is, Frank Sinatra was America’s greatest singer, and he still went to Sam Giancana’s place in Las Vegas to hang out for the weekend. Joe Kennedy, Jack Kennedy, they all had ties with the mob… and they were rich, rich men. They had more money than Puff Daddy or I ever had.”

Shyne is due in Manhattan Supreme Court on January 2 2001 to join Puff Daddy and Puff’s bodyguard Anthony ‘Wolf’ Jones on charges relating to a New York nightclub on December 27 1999.

All three men have been charged with criminal possession of a firearm, a 9mm handgun, that was allegedly found in Puffy’s car as he and then girlfriend Jennifer Lopez left the club with Jones following the incident.

Shyne also faces additional more serious charges of attempted murder, assault, and reckless endangerment for allegedly shooting three people at the Manhattan club on the night in question.

The subject of the shooting incident briefly broached when host Bill Maher said “I don’t remember Frank Sinatra or JFK shooting anyone in a nightclub,” leaving Shyne to make clear “it hasn’t been proven that anyone has shot anyone in a nightclub”.