While he was being sentenced on federal weapons charges Friday morning in an Atlanta courtroom, rapper T.I.’s interview with Vibe magazine was hitting newsstands, purporting to tell “the untold story behind the deal.”
The deal, that is, that kept the convicted felon out of jail for a year on a deferred sentence after he was caught purchasing machine guns and silencers in the parking lot of metro area Walgreen’s Oct. 13, 2007.
But in the story, titled “Cell Therapy,” the Grammy winner born Clifford Harris Jr. basically reaffirms what he’s said previously in his recordings (“No Matter What”), on his MTV reality show (“T.I.’s Road To Redemption”) and in various interviews since he struck the plea deal a year ago today. In short, he maintains that he did not turn anyone in to get the surprising sentence of a year and a day.
Or in street language, he did not snitch.
“Ain’t no such thing as a secret snitch,” he told writer Benjamin Meadows-Ingram. “If there was, there’d be no need for the witness protection program. Pull up my agreement. It’s public record. Ain’t no way you could hide it, especially being a public figure. And, as much as people saying that it is happening, don’t you think somebody would would have did the research to say, ‘OK, look, we got proof, here it is?’ People just know that it could have been a lot worse, and they wanted it to be a lot worse, but lies will never overrule the truth.”
Instead, he said, he was just fortunate enough to be able to afford the kind of lawyers that could craft such a deal.
“I’m blessed to have money,” he told Vibe. “I’m not spending it as though I’m oblivious, like before. [Expletive] said I need $3 million to get out of jail, and the lawyer told me it was half a million to represent me. I got a team of lawyers, and one lawyer said half a million! Lucky enough, I was smart enough to make some sound investments that yielded me enough of a profit to have some on-hand capital. Because if I didn’t have no cash, I’d still be locked up.”
T.I. hasn’t exactly been party-averse though. Even this past week leading up to his “day of redemption,” he’s been spotted around the city. Sunday, he rented out the entire Cascade skating rink (where much of his film “ATL” was set) and had a birthday party for one of his sons and his fiancee Tameka “Tiny” Cottle’s daughter. (R&B superstar Usher and fellow Atlantan – and teen hip-hop sensation – Soulja Boy showed, and T.I. performed).
On Thursday night, he was at Opera nightclub in Midtown for the album release party producer Polow Da Don threw for Atlanta R&B singer Keri Hilson. V-103’s Miss Sophia said many wished him well this next year.
As to how he plans to spend whatever free time he may have behind bars, T.I. told Vibe he still has an album worth of unreleased material left over from the recording sessions from his latest and biggest commercial CD of his career, “Paper Trail.”
And does he plan to rap in prison? “I don’t do too much planning” T.I. told Vibe. “You cannot predetermine these things. You get there and once you get there, at that point, you begin to figure out what it is you wanna do. …The best way to not be disappointed is to not have no plans.”
Hawks Help Out in Vine City
As part of Philips Arena’s inaugural Green Week, members of the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers took some time off the court and the ice rink to work on their green thumbs this week. Even the teams’ co-owner and environmentalist Rutherford Seydel endangered his red silk tie and dress shirt to help in the planting effort in Vine City. As you’ll recall, the neighborhood is still in the process of
bouncing back from last year’s tornado that ravaged portions of the city. Also lending a hand in the effort: NHL mascot Thrash, Harry the Hawk, the A-Town Dancers, Blue Crew members, Atlanta Spirit employees and Home Depot associates. We’re told that the volunteers planted trees, built a community bulletin board and installed landscaping bollards.
Actor Woody Harrelson, who’s in town shooting “Zombieland,” taking in the world premiere of “26 Miles” at the Alliance Theatre’s Hertz Stage in Midtown. Sadly, the production marks Kent Gash’s last show as associate artistic director before he heads up to New York. We hear that the house manager asked Harrelson how he liked the show. His reply: “Great!”
Boston Celtics player Paul Pierce and his former teammate Sam Cassell (who’s currently a free agent) dining at Aja in Buckhead.
Actress Conchata Ferrell is 66. Actor Ken Howard is 65. Actress Dianne Wiest is 61. Country singer Reba McEntire is 54. Rapper Salt of Salt-N-Pepa is 43. Country singer Rodney Atkins is 40. Actor Vince Vaughn is 39. Guitarist Dave Keuning of The Killers is 33. Actress Julia Stiles is 28.
Contributing: Sonia Murray and news services.
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