By Chris Yuscavage
Call us crazy, but we’re really starting to think T.I. doesn’t mind spending time behind bars.
For the second time in recent memory, it looks like Tip could be headed back to the big house. Less than one year following his release from prison after serving part of a one-year sentence on federal weapons charges, the Atlanta rapper finds himself on the wrong side of the law again. He was pulled over in Los Angeles in September with his wife Tameka “Tiny” Cottle (Harris?) and found to be in possession of Ecstasy and also tested positive for opiates.
As a result, the King of the South’s probation officer is now recommending anywhere from 8 to 14 additional months in jail for the troubled trap rapper. T.I. is due back in court on today (October 15) to answer to the charges against him and to plead with a judge to allow him to remain a free man. But it doesn’t look good for him.
Here at RapFix, we think there are some lessons T.I.—and the rest of the hip-hop community, for that matter—can learn from his latest missteps. So we put together a list of 10 things we should all keep in mind moving forward. The real road to redemption starts here. Buckle up.
1. Celebrities don’t always “get off” easy. Not anymore, at least
Remember when throwing a couple dollars at a sticky legal situation could make a serious case go away? Things don’t work like that anymore. And we’re not just talking about when they involve young black men who happen to rap. Even Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton are getting thrown in jail for breaking the law. So, to Tip—and all the other rappers out there (God knows there are enough of you these days!)—think before you act. If T.I., Lil Wayne and DMX haven’t taught you that anyone can get jail time despite their riches and fame, then there’s a good chance you’ll never learn that lesson.
2. Don’t fight the law
One of the best lines on Gucci Mane’s new album The Appeal is the most telling when it comes to his career and the careers of so many other rappers: “I fought the law and the f–king law won!” Like Gucci, Tip decided to mess with the law and the law (almost) always wins.
3. No matter what rappers say, drugs are still bad for you!
It should come as no surprise that your favorite rapper probably smokes weed. Anyone who’s listened to more than five rap songs in their lifetime can tell you rappers have a certain fondness for Mary Jane. But these days, it seems like there are a handful of rappers that are raising the stakes when it comes to drug use. Ecstasy, pain-killers and even cocaine have found their way into rap lyrics and made it sound like these drugs are more acceptable to use these days. Note to rappers and rap fans: They’re not! So stay far, far away.
4. One of the worst things you can do is a blow a second chance
In reality, T.I. has blown about six or seven chances at this point. He’s been in and out of jail since the start of his career. But after serving time on federal gun charges, he made a real commitment to change his ways. Now that he’s allegedly gone against that, expect his music career, film career and all the other things he had planned for the rest of his post-prison lifestyle to suffer.
5. Rappers make terrible role models…
Sure, there are guys like Jay-Z, Diddy and even 50 Cent, who should all be viewed as role models for young people looking to come up and turn nothing into something in their lives. But time and again, rappers have failed to live up to the task, despite the fact that there are a ton of kids who look up to them.
6. …and T.I. didn’t do anything to change that
Even after he got in trouble for housing an arsenal of guns that would have made Saddam Hussein proud, T.I. took huge strides to turn himself into a role model by taping the MTV series “Road to Redemption” which showed that a lot of positive things could come out of his negative situation. But by going and getting arrested again, he’s basically turned himself into an even worse role model for kids.
7. For rappers, jail time hurts studio time
T.I. had a movie (Takers) that topped Hollywood’s box office for a week or so recently, but since getting released from prison earlier this year, he’s struggled to find that same kind of success on the music charts. “Got Your Back” featuring Keri Hilson made some noise, but it didn’t enjoy the same type of success as songs like “What You Know” and “Whatever You Like.” And now that T.I. could be sentenced to another prison sentence, his music career may be derailed again.
8. One year away from the rap game might as well be a decade
When you really think about it, T.I.’s last album Paper Trail only came out a little more than two years ago, yet that album seems ancient at this point. Time moves quickly in the rap game and, if you’re not careful, you’ll lose your slot. Any rappers who even thinks about breaking the law must consider this fact.
9. King Uncaged was a terrible album title
It looks like we might get our way. We’ve been saying King Uncaged was a terrible album title since Tip first announced the name. It just sounds like an album that’s not gonna be any good and now that the king might be caged again, hopefully he rethinks the title and delivers something new. Consider this another second chance, Tip.
10. We’re tired of watching rappers go to jail.
We thought that when Lil Wayne got out next month, we’d be finished with all the stories about MCs going to prison. Guess we thought wrong.
What did you learn, if anything, from T.I.’s latest arrest? Was he stupid for putting himself into a situation that could potentially get him into trouble again? Tweet us at @MTVRapFix or leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.