Rap superstar Lil Wayne is prison bound after taking a surprising -- and surprisingly docile -- plea of guilty to gun possession yesterday in return for a promise of one year behind bars.
The Grammy-winning superstar has performed across the globe, pulling in tens of millions per tour. But he'll be spending most of 2010 in an upstate cage -- thanks to the 40-caliber Springfield Armory semiautomatic cops confiscated from his tour bus after a concert two years ago at the Beacon Theatre.
For all of Lil Wayne's violence-laden lyrics, the guilty plea, accepted shortly after 10 a.m. by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon, was utterly well mannered, peppered with polite "Yes, sirs," and "No, sirs," New York Post reports.
The lawyer — who in the past has represented 50 Cent, Tony Yayo and Remy Ma — called the current laws "draconian."
"If this happened in one of the other states, maybe down South or out West, where gun possession is normal and custom, it would be treated a lot differently. In some states this would be a simple probation-type case."
In rural areas, for instance, where hunting is more prominent, permits aren't necessarily needed to purchase some types of firearms. But in more urban-leaning locales such as New York, the requirements are much more stringent. Gun laws vary from state-to-state; in New York illegal gun possession is classified as a felony; in Oregon the same offense could result in a misdemeanor charge, according to their state legislature statutes, MTV.com informs.
Sixth album Lil Wayne Tha Carter III was the best-selling album in the US in 2008. The record won best rap album at the Grammy awards in February, where Lil Wayne picked up three other prizes.
Lil Wayne also faces felony drug possession and weapons charges in Arizona after drugs and a handgun were allegedly found on his tour bus in January 2008. The rapper has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Lil Wayne cut a sombre figure on Thursday as he acknowledged he had had a .40 calibre semi-automatic loaded gun on his tour bus in 2007.
Rapper Ja Rule was arrested after the same New York concert on gun possession charges. The rap star, known to the court as Jeff Atkins, has pleaded not guilty. He has a court date next month, BBC News reports.