The crack dealer-turned-rap-sensation may have a violent past – his best friend was shot dead and he’s about to go to jail for weapons charges of his own – but he says he has turned over a new leaf and is out to spread the love.
The rapper said he hopes to do “as many positive things as possible” before beginning his yearlong prison sentence in March.
Those positive things include more community service (he is required to complete 1,000 hours of it), more steps toward redemption (his new reality show, T.I.'s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go, will chronicle his last days of freedom and attempts to prevent young people from making similar mistakes) and spreading as much T.I. love as he can, apparently.
The 28-year-old star performed at Jet’s three-year anniversary party on Monday. During the show, he expressed his desire to make love, not war.
Lots and lots of love.
After thanking the capacity crowd for their support, he spoke directly to the ladies in the house and told them that he’d like to “take each and every one of you back to my room and (love*) the shit out of every one of you.”
(*Of course, he didn’t say “love,” but that’s probably what he meant.)
“I don't know if you have a man, I don't know if you want your man,” he continued, gentlemanly as ever. T.I. confessed how, deep down, he would like nothing more than to be the man of the night, over and over again, for the hundreds of female fans.
“If I could, I'd (love*) each and every one of you,” he repeated.
And the ladies in the house seemed eager to oblige.
However, the piercing screams that met his proclamation were soon downgraded to enthusiastic applause as he lamented that his fantasy wouldn’t become a reality that night.
While T.I. is already bonafide stud (he is a father of six, after all), even the most starry-eyed groupie knows that a tryst of that magnitude is not humanly possible.
Still, the hip-hop heavyweight managed to give the crowd a taste of what they were missing. One by one, he removed articles of clothing until he was left wearing little more than his red and white-striped boxer shorts and a big smile.
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He wasn’t the only one who was smiling. Female fans in the front row went wild for the stripped-down star. Many of them grabbed at his loose shorts, which were hardly tamper-resistant.
The immodest performer didn’t seem to mind giving an impromptu peepshow. In fact, T.I. appeared to enjoy the opportunity to give his grabby admirers a little more, uh, bang for their buck.
With just 10 minutes to spare before his court-issued curfew kicked in, T.I.’s set came to a close at 12:50 a.m. After performing more than half a dozen hits, he left the stage and was escorted out of the club and, presumably, up to his suite.
T.I., who was born Clifford Harris Jr., plead guilty last fall to two federal weapons offenses after he was caught with unregistered machine guns and silencers. A judge sentenced him to one year plus one day behind bars and 1,000 hours of community service.
Already a convicted felon at the time having previously faced charges ranging from drug offences and driving with a suspended license to assaulting a female sheriff’s deputy, T.I. said his most recent arrest somehow brought things into perspective.
Before his show on Monday, the rapper said he now realizes “how severely negative the outcome could’ve been” and has since adopted a new perspective.
The superstar appears eager to put his problems behind him and be a positive force in the world.
“I’m just looking forward to moving forward,” he said.
While T.I. doesn’t yet know where he will serve his prison term and admits he is “concerned” about his safety in jail, he doesn’t expect any special treatment.
And since he has been to prison before, he knows what to expect.
After 28 years of both hard living and success, T.I. has embraced life at both ends of the spectrum: He’s been handed both a prison sentence and a Grammy Award.
He hopes to lock-down another Grammy before he starts his stint in lock-up.
The multi-talented Atlanta native is up for four Grammys and will perform at the awards show next month.
Regardless of how many statuettes he takes home on Feb. 8, however, T.I. will report to a federal prison on March 27 to begin his year behind bars.
Staring down the barrel of 366 days of incarceration, the rapper said he expects to miss his family more than anything. While he doesn’t anticipate missing milestones like first steps or first days at kindergarten, he said, “Every day is just as important as any day to me as a father.”
Before he reports to serve his sentence, however, the busy rapper/producer/designer/reality star/father/hat aficionado has a long to-do list to take care of.
He said that list includes, “more community service, more music, more development in film, more development in television, more marketing for my clothing line, creating more opportunities for my artists, (and) spending more time with my family.”
T.I. currently has a dozen artists signed to his label, Grand Hustle Records, and is in the midst of filming a reality show for MTV.
He was honored by the hip-hop community last week during an inaugural ball in Washington, DC. During his acceptance speech, the humbled star thanked everyone from God to the prosecutors who helped convict him.
He said he hopes to play a positive role in the community after he serves his sentence and plans to use his star power to help troubled young people before it’s too late.
After seven months of house arrest and a year behind bars, the rapper told the crowd he will “be validated enough to get out there and touch the youth because they know that I done been through it, and if I say it, it means something.”