Multi-platinum-selling rapper Ja Rule is set to go to prison, but he is leaving fans with an album on the way.
The rapper-actor -- whose gravelly voice, tough talk and duets with R&B divas made him one of rap's stars in the early 2000s -- is due to be sentenced to two years in a New York jail.
"My last day out," he Tweeted yesterday afternoon, adding that he was spending it at the movies with his family. Ja Rule (35) pleaded guilty in December to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, resolving a nearly four-year-old case.
Police said they found a loaded .40-calibre semi-automatic gun in a rear door of his f170,000 Maybach sports car, which they said they had stopped for speeding as he left a star-laden concert in Manhattan on July 22, 2007.
Rap superstar Lil Wayne was arrested separately after headlining the same show. He later pleaded guilty to the same charge, spending about eight months in a city jail last year.
"Laws are laws," Ja Rule said on the TV show Good Day New York earlier this week. "There's nothing I could really do but own up to the situation."
Born Jeffrey Atkins, Ja Rule emerged as a hardcore rapper in the late 1990s but then became known for his collaborations with female pop singers, including Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti.
He scored a best rap album Grammy Award nomination in 2002 with Pain Is Love. He has recently been finishing a new album, Pain Is Love 2, but has also been trying to prepare himself mentally for prison. Meanwhile, he also pleaded guilty in March to failing to pay taxes on more than $3m (f2.04m) in income. He faces up to three years in prison in that case and his expected sentence will make him the latest in a long line of rappers to do prison time.
Hip-hop stars including Tupac Shakur, Lil' Kim, Foxy Brown, Shyne, Mystikal, Gucci Mane and T.I. have been in jail for periods ranging from months to years.