T.I. was given the key to the city of Jackson, Mississippi on September 25.

The rapper spoke to students of several school at a ceremony in which he discussed the importance of education, which he referred to as “an investment” in one’s future.

“There is no easy way; you have to work hard and to prepare yourself,” T.I. said, according to The Clarion-Ledger.

Mayor Tony Yarber presented Tip the key and he acknowledged that some may criticize his choice due to his criminal past. T.I., has been arrested several times throughout his life, but told students to travel down a different path, according to the report.

In a separate piece, The Clarion-Ledger’s Jimmie E. Gates writes about T.I. and the key to the city. 

“I applaud T.I.’s message to students, but it would be great if the rapper leads by example,” Gates writes. “Yes, you can turn your life around no matter the circumstances. It doesn’t matter what side of the tracks you were born, you don’t have to stay on that side of the tracks. We can only hope T.I.’s brushes with the law is in the past, but his recent actions make me wonder. Recently, there was published reports of the rapper getting into an altercation with boxing champ Floyd Mayweather. While I don’t have a major problem with T.I. receiving the key to the city because it is mostly a ceremonial thing, I think our local officials may have gone overboard with grandstanding treatment for the rapper.”

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