By David J. Prince
CHICAGO (Billboard) - Rapper T.I. got an early Christmas present Tuesday after authorities released him from a federal prison in Arkansas nearly seven months into a 366-day term.
His attorney, Steve Sadow, told the website xxlmag.com that T.I. would report to a halfway house in the Atlanta area later in the day to begin a stay of two or three months.
T.I., 28, was arrested after trying to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers from undercover federal agents in 2007. That came after the rapper's best friend was killed following a party in Cincinnati in 2006. The rapper has said the bullets that killed his friend were meant for him.
The self-proclaimed "King of the South" (real name: Clifford J. Harris Jr.) had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge in his three-count indictment. However, he reached a plea deal with prosecutors after spending time on house arrest before his sentencing and speaking before community groups and high schools about the dangers of drugs, violence and guns. He was originally scheduled to be released on March 10, 2010.
T.I. is one of the most popular rappers of his generation, with three straight No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, including 2008's "Paper Trail." He's also had three No. 1 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.