Before he heads off to the Gray Bar Hotel for felonies related to firearm possession (guns are bad, boys and girls), hip-hop star T.I., a.k.a. T.I.P., a.k.a. the King of the South, a.k.a. Clifford Harris, is taking a farewell trip around the country, including Saturday's stop at Tampa's St. Pete Times Forum.
As part of his all-star crew, T.I. will bring some bold-faced "friends" to the goodbye party: big, bad wolfish rapper Busta Rhymes and R&B hook queen Keri Hilson, long rumored to be a "backup" singer (wink, wink) for Britney Spears.
T.I. has said he'll use his time in the clink — he'll spend about a year in prison — to plan his "comeback." Comeback? The way his new album, Paper Trail, is selling, he'll still be charting with hits when he gets out. The disc has already spawned five hit singles, including Live Your Life, which dramatically jumped from No. 80 to No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
T.I., with Busta Rhymes and Keri Hilson, performs at 8 p.m. Saturday at the St. Pete Times Forum, 410 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $47.75. (813) 301-2500.
Sean Daly, Times pop music critic