T.I. is celebrating his (third) comeback with a new mixtape.
Since his release from prison in September after serving an 11-month sentence (his second stint in jail), the rapper-actor, born Clifford Harris Jr., has launched an aggressive comeback that includes a hit family reality show currently airing on VH1 "T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle"; a novel, “Power & Beauty”; and an awkward duet with America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift.
Before the self-proclaimed King of the South unveils his highly anticipated eighth album, “Trouble Man,” he's issuing a new mixtape right as the ball drops on New Year’s Day. He has spent the last week promoting the mixtape, “… Da City Up,” with tweets and video trailers that have included footage of him working with Dr. Dre and Young Jeezy.
The rapper-actor, born Clifford Harris, was released from a federal prison in Forrest City, Ark., early Wednesday and will be taken to a halfway house in Georgia to serve the remainder of his sentence for violating probation. Harris was originally set to be released at the end of September.
“Feels great to be back where I belong...Back in the arms of those who need me the most,” the rapper tweeted upon his release. “The storm is over & da sun back out. IT'S OUR TIME TO SHINE SHAWTY!!!!! Welcome to the beginning of our Happy Ending!!!!”
T.I. was sentenced in October 2010 to 11 months in prison for violating his probation on federal weapons charges. The rapper and his wife, Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, were arrested a year ago on suspicion of drug possession after a traffic stop on the Sunset Strip. With T.I. facing a federal probation violation, local prosecutors did not pursue charges against him. Charges against Tiny were also dropped after she completed 24 sessions in a drug-diversion program.
Meanwhile, T.I. has inked a deal with VH1 for a new reality show that will follow him as he "re-adjusts to life as a free man" after the incarceration, the network announced Wednesday.
The 10 episodes of the as-yet-untitled series, premiering Dec. 5, will offer a glimpse into his family life and see him in the studio as he preps the follow-up to 2010’s “No Mercy," all while trying to abide by a new set of restrictions and obstacles due to his probation terms.
“Viewers have always connected with T.I. and we are definitely thrilled to show the next chapter of this incredible artist’s riveting life with this new series,” Jeff Olde, executive vice president of original programming and production for the network, said in a statement. “T.I. is such a multi-talented artist and actor, and though he has had some setbacks, there is no doubt he will use his considerable talents to get back on top of both the music and film business.”
Harris previously teamed with MTV in 2009 for “T.I.'s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go,” where he took a “scared straight” approach to help at-risk youth before he headed behind bars.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: T.I. at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills in 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
T.I. may have talked a suicidal man off a ledge this week, but the rapper wasn't able to talk a federal judge in Atlanta into letting him off the hook from prison.
After breaking his probation (following a 10-month prison term for weapons charges) with an arrest for drug possession in Los Angeles early last month, the Grammy-winning rapper, born Clifford Harris Jr., will return to prison for 11 months, according to the Associated Press.
Harris is quoted as pleading for leniency and admitting he "screwed up" and needed drug counseling, but failed to sway the court's opinion. It's another blow for the rapper at a pivotal point in his career, after the success of his crime-caper film "Takers" and the forthcoming release of his new album, the now-unfortunately titled "King Uncaged."
-- August Brown
Photo: Clifford "T.I." Harris. Credit: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images