T.I.’s Goodbye Bash

Before T.I. made his fashionably late arrival to the Forrest City, Ark., federal prison this afternoon, pulling up inside a black conversion van with tinted windows, he had one last hurrah with a Sunday night concert at Atlanta’s Philips Arena.

The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris, was sentenced to a year and a day in jail on federal weapons charges.

Prior to hitting the slammer, he performed what was promoted as “T.I.’s Final Goodbye Bash,” with tickets starting at just $10, according to CNN.com. The Grammy award-winning rapper treated fans to hits such as “Whatever You Like,” “Live Your Life” and “Swagga Like Us.”

Photo: AP Photo
At Atlanta’s Philips Arena.

A spokesman for Philips Arena told CNN.com the venue was filled with a sell-out crowd of 16,000 people.

Harris invited fellow rapper Soulja Boy on stage, as well as his mom and five children.

But the show wasn’t all fun and games. Harris reminded his fans that he was going to take his prison sentence seriously and try to turn over a new leaf.

“I’m doing the best I can to get out there, man, and put something positive on these young kids, man,” T.I. said during the show. “I try my best. I need y’all help, though.”

During his sentencing in March, Harris said he was sorry for his actions, explaining, “I would like to say thank you to some and apologize to others. In my life, I have been placed in the worst-case scenario and had to make the best of it.”

Harris was arrested for trying to purchase unregistered machine guns and silencers from undercover federal agents in October 2007, hours before he was set to perform at the BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta.

The purchase was considered a big no-no because he was convicted in 1998 for possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and since then hasn’t been allowed to own any guns.

After being arrested he entered a plea agreement which allowed him to put off going to jail for a year in exchange for 1,000 hours of community service spent talking to youth about guns, drugs and violence. He was also placed on house arrest and fined $100,000.

Photo: AP Photo
Federal prison officials in cars escort black van carrying rapper T.I., to a prison facility in Forrest City, Ark.

Traci Billingsley, a spokeswoman at the Forrest City prison, said the low-security prison hadn’t made any special protections for Harris, adding that, “We treat all our offenders in the same manner.”

Another prison spokeswoman noted that guards will refer to the rapper as federal prison inmate No. 59458019.

After completing his sentence, the rapper will be on probation for three years.

“See y’all in 366 days,” Harris told fans at Sunday’s concert.

Read the CNN.com article here.

Read the AP story here.