NEW YORK — Little more than a week ago, Lil Wayne was reinforcing his place in rap’s pantheon with a commanding performance at the Grammy Awards ceremony. His latest album, “Rebirth,” was officially released Feb. 2.
Now Lil Wayne, one of music’s biggest sellers and rap’s hottest stars, is poised to spend as much as the next year in a jail cell instead of a spotlight.
The Grammy-winning rapper was due to be sentenced today after pleading guilty in a gun possession case. His plea deal calls for a year in jail, though good behavior could shave that to as little as eight months.
“This is Lil Wayne going to jail. Nobody can tell me what that’s like,” the rapper told Rolling Stone magazine for its latest issue. “I just say I’m looking forward to it.”
He’s likely to start serving his sentence immediately, making him the latest in a string of rap stars to do time after topping the charts.
His plea deal calls for him to serve his sentence not in state prison but in the city jail system, where rapper Foxy Brown spent about eight months in 2007 and 2008 for a probation violation involving a fight she had with manicurists in a nail salon.
Rapper Remy Ma spent several months in a city jail in 2008 while awaiting sentencing for shooting a woman outside a nightclub. She’s now serving an eight-year sentence in state prison.
City Department of Correction spokesman Stephen Morello wouldn’t discuss any arrangements being made to house Lil Wayne among the roughly 13,500 inmates in the massive Rikers Island complex and other jails. Most inmates are awaiting trial.
Some inmates, including Foxy Brown, are separated from the general population because of their celebrity or other reasons, but “there’s no special-inmates wing,” Morello said.
Lil Wayne’s attorney didn’t return telephone calls seeking comment Monday.
Lil Wayne, 27, pleaded guilty in October to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, admitting he illegally had a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic gun on his tour bus in July 2007. Police found the weapon when they stopped the bus after a Manhattan concert.
A rapper since he was a teenager, Lil Wayne, born Dwayne Carter, became known for his voluminous output and collaborations with other artists.
His career has hit a peak in the last two years. His “Tha Carter III” led 2008 album sales with 2.8 million copies sold and featured such hits as the No. 1 smash “Lollipop.” His Grammys include 2008’s best rap solo performance award, for “A Milli.”