On Friday, March 27, chart-climbing rapper T.I. was sentenced to serve one year and a day in jail on weapons charges. The performer, whose real name is Clifford Harris, could end up serving less than 300 days of his 366-day sentence, though, with allowances for good behavior and time served after his arrest.
“Today I would like to say thank you to some and apologize to all,” said T.I. at the sentencing, adding, “Everything I learned was through trial and error. I’ve learned lessons in my life to put in my music so people won’t make the same mistakes as I.”
The rapper originally faced a minimum of four years and nine months and a maximum of 10 years for 2007 federal weapons charges. However, T.I.’s legal team negotiated an experimental plea allowing him to serve an abbreviated sentence in exchange for house arrest, a $100,000 fine, and 1,000 hours of community service.
For his community service, T.I. traveled around the country, addressing children and teenagers about the dangers of drugs and violence. He completed a total of 260 events and logged more than his required 1,000 hours, according to Rolling Stone, which followed T.I. for one day of his travels.
U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell Jr. handed down the sentence in an Atlanta courtroom, praising T.I. for the progress and impact made by his cross-country community service work. T.I. will have to complete an additional 500 hours after his release.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, T.I. requested to be assigned to a federal facility near his hometown of Atlanta. However, in other reports, his legal team was not sure where or when he would begin serving his sentence. Due to other obligations and commitments, T.I. does not need to report to the facility before May 19.
The Grammy nominated artist’s sentence comes at what seems to be the peak of his career. His sixth studio album, the September 2008 release “Paper Trail,” debuted atop the Billboard 200 and was Platinum-certified within three months.
However, the performer won’t let his time out of the limelight affect his career. He plans to spend his time plotting his return to the industry.
“Presumably, while I’m there, I’ll be able to strategize my comeback,” T.I. said in a December 2008 interview with MTV News. “All those days will be spent speaking to people who are interested in being in the T.I. business. Preparing myself for the days those doors open, when I put my feet back on the ground of the free world. It’s just months of planning. It’s just a long time to roll the project out. I ain’t gonna just be sitting still doing nothing. The wheels will be turning, just the car ain’t going nowhere.”