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2008’s Biggest Stories #1: T.I. vs. Jail vs. Shawty Lo

Throughout

2008 T.I. found himself alternating between personal and professional

challenges in the form of promoting a new album, legal woes, and a persistent

Bankhead rival.

         

On

March 27, T.I., real name Clifford Harris, was sentenced to 1 year in prison

for two counts of illegally possessing machine guns and silencers, and one

count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

         

Pending

fulfillment of all requirements under his plea agreement, T.I.’s sentence will

commence on March 27, 2009.

         

In

addition to being fined $100,000, the Atlanta star was required to complete

1000 hours of community service, which included speaking to at-risk youth and

public service announcements.

         

During

this time, Bankhead rapper Shawty Lo repeatedly baited T.I. with video taunts

and accusations that the Grammy-winning emcee was lying about his past.

         

The

feud simmered over the summer, most notably at radio station Hot 107.9’s

Birthday Bash. There, Shawty Lo boldly proclaimed over the big screen that “A

New King Is Born,” and featured a video of an inept FBI agent resembling his

rival. T.I. responded in kind during his set by mocking Lo’s trademark dance.

         

Although

the beef was allegedly squashed various times after sit-downs between the men,

T.I.’s blockbuster album Paper Trail

showcased numerous veiled and blatant jabs at Shawty Lo.

         

The

tension spilled over into violence at Radio One’s 4th annual Dirty

Awards (November 24).

         

During

a Shawty Lo performance of “Don’t I,” a direct diss record to T.I.’s camp,

Grand Hustle member Alfamega reportedly hurled a chair onto the stage.

         

As

other Grand Hustle members attempted to confront Lo’s camp, police moved in to

break up the potential melee.

         

Later,

T.I. and Lo again met backstage and supposedly agreed to stop any further

derogatory comments against each other. T.I. then publicly on stage reiterated

the feud should end and denounced the violence that had taken place.

         

The

truce proved short-lived, as T.I. drew the ire of Lo’s entourage while

performing his verse from “Ain’t I.” According to Shawty Lo’s camp, T.I.

allegedly changed lyrics to take some verbal jabs at his rival.

         

The

police weren’t quick enough this time, as Alfamega allegedly assaulted Shawty

Lo’s brother before being pepper sprayed and jailed along with Grand Hustle

member Big Kuntry.

         

In

the fallout from the incident, both sides chose to blame the other for another

Hip-Hop awards show being ruined by unnecessary violence.

         

“I

didn’t go and start nothing. If they rewind the cameras, they’ll see how it

started,” Shawty Lo explained. “I’m a man. I respect every man as a man. If a

man disrespects me, what am I supposed to do?”  T.I. needs to contain his people. We’re not

standing down. I performed my music. I didn’t come to start no beef with him.”

         

Alfamega

countered by speculating that the months of feuding stems from Shawty Lo being

jealous of T.I.’s success.

         

“I think [Lo] feels like he ain’t getting his just due,” Alfamega

stated. “I can understand, but God will give you blessings, and your blessings

might not as be as big as the next man. Be thankful for what you got… I’m embarrassed by the

whole situation.”

         

Since the incident Shawty Lo has made

several videos speaking on the matter, and it appears this feud will continue

well into 2009.

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