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FEATURE ARTICLE

 
2009: T.I.

 

“I’m going to stand up tall, head up high.”  --T.I. on the beginning of his prison sentence

 

This year (May 26) saw former rubberband man Tip head to jail, but not before he changed his life around. 

 

T.I. was originally sentenced in April to serve 366 days in prison following an October 2007 arrest for illegally attempting to purchase firearms.  However, his sentence was anything but the norm. 

 

The sentencing judge called it "experimental." The U.S. attorney who helped broker the arrangement called it "unique." And T.I. himself acknowledged that his plea deal — which reduced a potential 10-year prison term into community service and, more than likely, less than a year's worth of jail time — was "an opportunity."

 

T.I. has countless times made it clear that he wasn't the recipient of the plea deal because he snitched. Nor did he get the benefit of the doubt from the legal system because he's rich. Tip landed his plea deal due to a combination of his fame, his familiar troubled past and his ability to recount his transformation from trap star to rap star as a means of influencing at-risk youth.

 

In his quest, Tip made upwards of 260 public appearances in the past year, talking to schools, youth groups and churches.  He also filmed "Road to Redemption" with MTV which shows specially selected teens (and the viewing audience) an alternative to an at-risk teen's turbulent influences.

 

Although T.I. isn't home yet, he appears to be on the road to freedom as he was released from prison custody on December 22 to a halfway house to serve out the remainder of his sentence. There, he will have to complete 500 more hours of community service and serve out the rest of his home confinement, which could be upwards of 20 to 60 days.

 

In the meantime, fiancé Tiny is holding it down via her BET reality show, "Tiny & Toya" also featuring Lil Wayne’s ex-wife Antonia “Toya” Carter and managing the OMG Girlz – a girl group which includes Tiny’s daughter and the offspring of Lil Wayne, Reginae (a.k.a. Baby Carter).



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