T.I. released from prison early

Served seven months of a one year and one day sentence

CHICAGO -- Rapper T.I. got an early Christmas present today. The rapper was released from prison to an Atlanta, Ga. halfway house, according to an interview with his attorney, Steve Sadow. T.I. (real name: Clifford J. Harris Jr.) had served nearly seven months of a one year and one day sentence at a federal prison in Arkansas stemming from a weapon charge. He was originally scheduled to be released on March 10, 2010.

Sadow told the website xxlmag.com that "He's on his way back to the Atlanta area. He has to report to a halfway house in Atlanta sometime this evening. And he will then spend somewhere between the next two or three months in a halfway house, ending his Bureau of Prison sentence."

T.I., 28, was arrested after trying to buy unregistered machine guns and silencers from undercover federal agents in 2007. That came after the rapper's best friend was killed following a party in Cincinnati in 2006. The rapper has said the bullets that killed his friend were meant for him.

The self-proclaimed "King of the South" had faced a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge in his three-count indictment. However, he reached a plea deal with prosecutors after spending time on house arrest before his sentencing and speaking before community groups and high schools about the dangers of drugs, violence and guns.

T.I. is one of the most popular rappers of his generation, with three straight No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, including 2008's "Paper Trail," which debuted in the penthouse with first week sales of 568,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. He's had 10 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, including three No. 1s -- "My Love" (Justin Timberlake feat. T.I.), "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life" (feat. Rihanna).

T.I.'s release to a halfway house in his hometown should make for a happy holiday for the rapper. "A halfway house is more along the lines of a residential dormitory," Sadow told XXL. "You live within this house that is broken into areas for living, and you are permitted to leave during the day for certain reasons, of which would be employment, medical reasons. So it's a restriction on your liberty, but it's a way for you to reenter into society and not be confined within a jail type institution 24-hours a day."