Rapper Shyne is hoping to be granted a visa to re-enter the U.S. once he gets 25,000 signatures on a petition he created. The artist was deported in October of 2009 following his release from prison. Shyne, whose birth name is Jamal Michael Barrow, spent about 9 years in Woodbourne Correctional Facility for two counts of assault, gun possession and other related charges. The conviction stemmed from a 1999 shooting where Shyne was with Bad Boy CEO Diddy and his girlfriend at the time, actress Jennifer Lopez. Three people were injured in the shooting and Shyne insists to this day that he acted in self-defense.

During his time in jail Shyne began educating himself on Judaism and when he was released visited Israel and underwent the formal religious conversion. Shyne’s name formally became Moses Mochael Levi.

Shyne has been spending time between Israel and Belize since his deportation. He has since signed a new contract with Def Jam Records for a reported seven-figure deal. However, Shyne’s biggest priority is the petition he created on the White House page asking for signatures in order to grant him a visa to re-enter America.

As a current cultural ambassador of Belize, Shyne wants to work in the U.S. helping young people and being a voice for them.

Shyne sees his time in prison and life so far as just a stepping stone.

“I don’t think in terms of exile, I think in terms of it’s a temporary¬†setback and I will be in New York, I will be in the United States very soon.”

Follow Marquise Francis on Twitter @mKfly