On the eve of reporting to prison , [artist id=”1225081″]T.I.[/artist] (born Clifford Harris Jr.) bid farewell to his hometown fans on Sunday night at the Philips Arena in Atlanta.
The rapper is set to turn himself in at noon on Tuesday (May 26) to begin serving his sentence for a year and a day at the minimum security Forrest City federal prison in Arkansas, after pleading guilty to federal weapons charges for trying to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers from undercover federal agents in 2007. He told the packed crowd of 16,000 that he’d “see y’all in 366 days,” according to The Associated Press.
“I’m going to stand up tall, head up high,” he told fans. “Thank you for all of your support.”
As he did on his recent MTV series, “T.I.’s Road to Redemption,” Tip, 28, tried to put a positive spin on his mistakes. At one point in the show, he brought his five children out onstage to stand next to him, cradling his youngest as he performed “No Matter What.” “I’m doing the best I can to get out there, man, and put something positive on these young kids, man,” he said. “I try my best. I need y’all help, though.”
Allhiphop.com reported that the show was hosted by Grand Hustle comedian Lil’ Duval and featured appearances by the entire GH crew, including B.o.B., Big Kuntry King, 8ball & MJG and Maino. In the audience were several celebrity guests including Soulja Boy Tell’em and Andre 3000. As fans held aloft signs expressing their support, T.I. took them on a trip through his entire catalog, from “Dope Boyz” to recent hits like “Whatever You Like,” “Live Your Life” and “Swagga Like Us.”
On Friday, a federal judge in Atlanta denied a petition from the rapper’s lawyers to delay the beginning of his prison sentence as they sought a bid from the Bureau of Prisons to switch from the low-security prison in Arkansas to a minimum-security prison camp closer to Atlanta. T.I.’s sentence requires him to serve at least 85 percent of his time, meaning he could get a 15 percent reduction at most, totaling 54 days off his incarceration time.
Trying to cram in as much business as possible in his final hours of freedom, T.I. reportedly spent the hours before the concert working on four Grand Hustle-related videos, including the clip for Big Kuntry’s single “I Do.”
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, once out, T.I. must complete another 470 hours of the 1,500 hours of community service to which he was sentenced, complete two more months of home confinement and remain on supervised release for three years.