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I-TEAM: Japanese rapper stranded in Cleveland could become US citizen

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CLEVELAND (WJW) - The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered a new turn in a story that made national headlines when we revealed a Japanese rapper stranded and robbed in Cleveland. You may be surprised to see what’s happening now.

We’ve found a new push to make Shiba Dogg an American recording star, or at least, a citizen.

Weeks ago, we met him in his most desperate moment. He had sold everything to come to Cleveland hoping to meet with and perform with famous rap stars Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony.

Activists turned to the I-TEAM after they say they found the rapper alone, unable to speak English and with no legal right to stay in America. They also say he’d been robbed.

Now, he’s getting help learning the English language. Some people are working with him on his music and others are guiding him toward becoming a U.S. citizen.

Wednesday, Shiba Dogg told us, he wants to “rap for English.” And he’s learning American history and music. He said, “I’m doing little by little.”

James Norton helped rescue the rapper off of the Cleveland streets.

“He wants to be a legitimate contributing person in society. He wants to pay taxes," Norton said.

Shiba Dogg has held multiple performances in the area, including at the Jolly Scholar on the campus of Case Western Reserve University.

The owner of the Jolly Scholar, Matt Vann, said folks on campus are also trying to give the Japanese rapper a boost.

Vann said, “See if we can’t try to put together some little concert series to bop around to other universities to let them get exposed to this cool story.”

When we first started looking into this, we spoke to members of Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony and they promised help.

Since then, we’ve learned some members have given some financial support and some musical support.

While chasing his dream, the rapper is also hoping this might help him get permission from the U.S. government to stay in the country.

All of this has Shiba Dogg determined to succeed in this new life. If you’re wondering how far he’s willing to go, he said, “Speak to the President.”

Continuing coverage, here.

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