How these rappers spent their last 24 hours before going to prison07/24/2019
Maybe it’s because of the graphic depictions of street life in their music videos, or the controversial lyrics in their songs, but rappers tend to give off the image that prison time is no big deal for them. Sadly, prison terms are a reality for many rappers, and while fans seem to expect that these stars are partying right up to the moment they begin their sentences, that doesn’t seem to be the reality.
Sure, some of these emcees-turned-inmates threw a little shindig before going into the slammer, but others used their final hours to complete other tasks, like owning up to their mistakes, making as much money as possible, and spending time with family.
To get to the bottom of how hip-hop stars really prepare for going away, we took a look at how some of them spent their last day of freedom. Here’s an up close look at how these rappers spent their last 24 hours before going to prison.
Ja Rule had a movie night before heading to prison
In 2007, Ja Rule (Jeffrey Atkins) was pulled over for speeding in New York. According to CTV News, police then found a loaded semi-automatic gun in his backseat door. In December of 2010, the rapper pled guilty to the charges of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, but it took another six months before he faced the judge for sentencing.
In the 24 hours leading up to him finding out his fate, Ja Rule didn’t go out and celebrate or get wild. Instead, he spent some quality time with his family catching up on the latest X-Men adventure, a decision that he seemed pretty jacked up about. On June 7th, the rapper tweeted out to his followers, “My last day out chillin wit the Fam and the kids at the movies Xmen let’s gooooo!!!”
Then, the day of his sentencing, Ja Rule informed fans that he was “Out on my patio having my last free moment I love all my fans Pain is love!!!” According to The Guardian, he was hit with a two-year sentence for his crime.
Lil Wayne prefaced prison with some video production
Prior to Lil Wayne’s March 9, 2010 sentencing stemming from his 2007 gun possession charges, the rapper sent MTV a video discussing his plans for his final days of freedom. “I’mma show y’all the [work] ethic of a true artist,” Wayne says to MTV viewers in the clip. “You know what I’m talkin’ about? Seven videos tonight. I shot 10 in two days before. Now we about to do seven in one night.”
The MTV video, which shows a February 27, 2010 date on it, ended up being a part of the Lil Wayne Nino Brown Documentary: Road 2 Rikers, which intended to track the rapper’s last three days before “going in.” At one point in the video, the rapper reveals, “Tonight, we about to eat, then we going to go to the studio,” he said. “I’m gonna get some verses in, and then we going to party with Stunna tonight at LIV.”
According to The Guardian, as Lil Wayne went to his sentencing, however, a fire had shut down the court. This delayed the term for one more week and gave the rapper another crack at his final night of freedom. This time, he apparently spent it bowling with friends.
T.I. held a pre-prison concert in Atlanta
In 2007, shortly before he was meant to perform at the BET Hip Hop Awards, T.I. was arrested for illegally purchasing guns. According to reports, the rapper was caught in a sting operation in which his bodyguard was an informant for authorities, and turned in the rapper for buying the weapons.
For his crimes, the rapper was sentenced to prison for 366 days, time that was shortened because he accepted a community service program, which had him speaking to kids in schools and community groups about how to stay on the right track.
Less than two day before starting his time behind bars, T.I. took the stage for one final performance in Atlanta. During the show, the rapper spoke to the crowd, per CNN. “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.” According to Billboard, he signed off by saying, “see y’all in 366 days.”
Beanie Sigel planned and strategized in the lead-up to his prison stint
Beanie Sigel’s legal issues date back to 1996 when he was a teen. The rapper’s been arrested for drug possession, assault, and weapons charges. Yet, while he’s touched on these topics in his music, Sigel isn’t proud of getting locked up.”No, that ain’t a badge of honor,” he told Rolling Stone before he went to prison in 2004. “Not for me. Only fools or people who got caught are in jail. Take that to heart. If you can learn what not to do from me, then I’m good with that.”
In 2003, Sigel (Dwight Grant), who was on probation at the time, was arrested with pills and cough medicine. The rapper also allegedly fled from police and threw a loaded gun out his car window. The result was a 366-day sentence, according to MTV, but Sigel made sure he was prepared.
In the year leading up to his sentencing, he finished an album and shot scenes for State Property 2, according an October 7, 2004 Associated Press report (via Today). Then, in “the last few days” before his sentencing, Sigel finished up a few music videos. “(I’m) just settin’ things up just in case I gotta go away, for my family — make sure everybody live comfortably, and maintains livin’ how they maintain living now,” Sigel said, adding, “Gotta plan and strategize.” MTV reported that Sigel received his sentence on October 8, 2004, and was “allowed to surrender for his prison term within 30 days.”
City Girls celebrated big success before JT headed to prison
When JT from City Girls was first sentenced to 24 months in prison for felony identity theft, she wasn’t very well-known on the mainstream music scene. However, before she began serving her time, City Girls landed a feature on Drake’s smash hit, “In My Feelings,” and everything changed.
According to The Blast, JT’s lawyer requested a delayed start to the sentence because the group was to appear at the 2018 BET Awards. The lawyer argued, “Since the sentencing, the Defendant and her two-girl music group has experienced a meteoric rise in stardom … The Defendant now has over 3 million views on YouTube and they have over one million streams across various platforms. The Defendant is a star.”
The judge pushed the prison sentence back a week, which gave the group enough time to show up to the awards show, gush over their collaboration with Drake, and release a new video for their single, “Sweet Tooth,” the same day JT began her incarceration.
Fat Joe dropped a mixtape on the day he entered into prison
Fat Joe’s failure to pay “taxes on approximately $1 million in income from 2007 to 2008” (per MTV) landed him in trouble with the law. After a guilty plea in 2012, the rapper, who was originally facing up to two years, was sentenced to four months in prison. According to TMZ, Fat Joe (Joseph Cartagena) turned himself in to begin his term in late August of 2012.
Though Fat Joe says that he tried to fix his problems, the rapper was unable to escape prison time. “I tried to avoid it, I tried to do the right thing, I tried to pay it back,” he told MTV. “But it is what it is,” he said.
Being the seasoned veteran of the music industry he is, Fat Joe wasn’t about to let the publicity of prison term go to waste. On the day he was to begin serving time, he released a 10-track mixtape under the name of The Darkside 3. He then got out a month early, just in time for Thanksgiving.
B.G. owned up to his mistakes
In 2009, rapper B.G. (Baby Gangsta) was pulled over during a traffic stop. In his vehicle, police reportedly found three firearms, including “two of which [that] were reported stolen,” plus extended clips and “loaded magazines,” according to nola.com.
In 2011, the rapper pleaded guilty to the crimes but made it clear that he would not “snitch.” The following year, B.G. was sentenced to 14 years for “gun possession and witness tampering.” Rather than resist and deny his part in the crimes, however, the rapper took full responsibility for his actions.
In his final interview before serving his sentence, B.G. told DJ Slab 1 of Q93 New Orleans that wished he could take it back. “At the end of the day … I possessed a firearm and I was a convicted felon,” he said. “I shouldn’t have had a firearm. I had a firearm. I can’t take that back. … I gotta do my bid. It is what it is.”
He then added, “At the end of the day, you gotta live with the decisions you make in life as a man. I made my bed, I gotta lay in it.”
Chi Ali avoided prison for a year, living life on the lam
Eight years after Chi Ali Griffith released his 1992 debut album, The Fabulous Chi-Ali, the rapper allegedly shot and killed his then-girlfriend’s brother. Charged with a number of crimes, including second-degree murder and illegal firearm use, Chi Ali escaped arrest and fled from authorities.
For more than a year, the rapper eluded capture. He appeared on America’s Most Wanted more than once, and moved through several states. According to MTV, Griffith was finally arrested for “marijuana possession and criminal possession of a weapon” in 2001. He was found sleeping in a New York apartment and was taken into custody in New York where he was denied bail.
Yet according to Chi Ali in a VladTV interview, the rapper suggested that police finding him in that New York apartment in the early morning was him giving up the chase. “I feel like I kind of gave up,” he said of that final day and his decision to go to the Big Apple. “Like me coming to New York, I was giving up. They didn’t flush me out.” He went on to explain that he could have stayed hidden, but he “would have been milking cows for a living.”
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