Rapper Ja Rule starts doing time for weapons conviction, turns himself in for 2-year prison term

In this March 2, 2010 file photo, rapper Ja Rule attends the premiere of "Brooklyn's Finest" in New York.
Ja Rule

(CBS/AP) - Rapper Ja Rule turned himself in to authorities Wednesday to begin his 2-year prison sentence for a 2007 weapons conviction, reports TMZ.

The 35-year-old rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, pleaded guilty in December 2010 to attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a .40-caliber semiautomatic.

Cops say they found the gun, with the serial number scratched off, hidden in Ja Rule's car after pulling him over for speeding.

The rapper was stopped after leaving a concert at Manhattan's Becaon Theatre July 22, 2007. Lil Wayne was arrested separately, but for the same charge, after headlining the same show, and spent about eight months in jail for the crime.

By meeting state prison requirements for good behavior, Ja Rule may be able to trim up to 6 months off his sentence.

"Laws are laws," Ja Rule said Monday on "Good Day New York," which airs on New York's Fox 5 TV station. "There's nothing I could really do but own up to the situation."

Atkins also pleaded guilty in a New Jersey federal court in March to failing to pay taxes on more than $3 million in income. He faces up to three years in prison in that case, though his lawyers are expected to try to arrange for his sentences to be served at the same time.

Ja Rule is leaving fans with a parting gift: a new album. His first album in six years, Pain of Love II, is being released later this summer.

Ja Rule was nominated for a 2002 best rap album Grammy Award for "Pain is Love."

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