Ja Rule appeared in a New York City courtroom Wednesday (June 8) afternoon to begin his two- year prison bid stemming from weapon possession charges.

The Queens rapper, born Jeffrey Atkins, was sentenced today after pleading guilty to the charges back in December. While he spent his last days of freedom tweeting fans, hanging out with his children and working on new music, today he appeared mostly stone-faced, rocking sunglasses, a T-shirt and sweats as he arrived at court surrounded by friends and family.

"Mr. Atkins, with credit for good behavior, will do 18 to 20 months," lawyer Stacey Richman told the BoomBox exclusively. "He was very strong of mind -- he accepted responsibility and recognizes the path ahead. He prepared his family -- his wife, mother, mother in law and other supporters were in attendance for the sentencing. True to his fans, even in the midst of today on the way into the courthouse, fans asked him for autographs-he stopped and took the time for them. People in the street were cheering for him."

As previously reported, Rule was busted back in 2007, following a performance at Manhattan's Beacon Theater. After getting pulled over for speeding, police uncovered a .40 caliber handgun in his chauffeured Mercedes Maybach. Ironically Lil Wayne, who was headlining the show where Rule performed, was also arrested on the same night and ended up serving eight months behind bars for weapons possession. He was released last November.

In recent years, Rule has been plagued by both legal and financial issues. In March, he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and agreed to pay $1.1 million in taxes on over $3 million worth of income earned between 2004 and 2008. Rule faces three counts of failing to file taxes and is scheduled to re-appear in court on June 13. A conviction on the charges could add one year to his sentence for each count.

Watch Ja Rule's 'Caught Up' feat. Lloyd
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