Irv Gotti Eyes Shyne, Despite Jail And Bad Boy Contract

Murder Inc. CEO plans to visit rapper at Rikers Island prison next week.

As always, Irv Gotti has a dream, but for once the Murder Inc. CEO isn't sure he can make it happen.

"I'm trying to sign Shyne," Gotti said last night from his hotel room in London. Shyne, of course, is still serving a 10-year prison sentence. Last year he was convicted on two counts of assault as well as reckless endangerment and gun possession stemming from a New York nightclub melee (see "Shyne Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison").

"Next Monday, I'm going to Rikers [Island] to have a sit-down with Shyne," Gotti said. "If there's any way that the guy can get an appeal, if he wants me involved, I would love to help him. I would love to get him out, and I would love to have him on Murder Inc."

When he goes to meet the imprisoned rapper, Gotti won't be alone — he'll be bringing Ja Rule and Nas.

"Nas actually has pioneered this, because he was like, 'We need to get some "Free Shyne" T-shirts.' Nas just got it in my mind hard. Nas is a boss, and if he is like, 'Shyne would make a great addition,' I'm gonna try to make it happen."

Gotti wasn't sure of the status of Shyne's pending appeal, but the word on the street had him optimistic.

"I'm hearing his appeal looks real good," he said. "I'm gonna speak to his lawyer Murray Richman, and I'm gonna see if it's real. If he wins his appeal, he'll get an appeal bond. Whatever that is, we'll put it up. And we'll smash [records]."

"The appeal hasn't been filed as of yet," Richman said Wednesday. "We're in ... a motion stage to set aside the verdict somehow. It's not going to be granted. We have to explore every avenue before we can go to the next level. We have to go through A, B and C before we can get to D, E and F. An appeal, it's gonna be time-consuming no matter how you do it. The kid is a good kid, and it's a rough situation he's under. The best-case scenario [if he wins his appeal] would be the opportunity for a retrial. It's not just going to be dismissed."

Richman also said that despite being locked down, the fire to be an MC still burns inside Shyne and that he's "working all the time" on writing songs. Unfortunately for the Brooklyn MC, even if he wins the pending appeal, Richman thinks the odds of him being granted a bond during the process are unlikely.

"He might, but I would bet not under these circumstances. It's a violent offense, and in violent offenses, they generally don't [grant a bond]."

If Shyne does beat the odds and gets a bond, his lawyer said his release would still be "a long way off, not even this year, maybe next year if he's lucky."

When and if Shyne gets out, Gotti will still have to contend with P. Diddy. According to a spokesperson for Arista Records, the distributor of Diddy's current remix album, Shyne is still signed to Bad Boy. Diddy himself was unable to be reached for comment.

Although Nas is rolling tight with the Murder Inc. family these days, he too is still signed to his original recording home, Columbia Records. Gotti clarified his role on Queensbridge's finest's next album, God's Son (see "Nas Sets Release For God's Son, Pooh-Pooh's Jay-Z's Challenge"), saying he'll serve as co-executive producer along with Nas and Steve Stoute. Gotti will also produce four to six songs on the LP.

For a feature interview with Murder Inc., check out "Murder Inc.: In Gotti We Trust."

(For more on Shyne's legal problems, check out MTV News' full coverage of

the P. Diddy/Shyne trial.)