On the road with T.I.: Service served with a side of entertainment

He has 45 days of freedom left and he wants his fans to share every moment.

Starting on March 27, Clifford Harris, known as rapper T.I., will serve his sentence of one year and a day for being charged with two gun felonies. Prior to his day behind bars, he has been filling 1,000 hours of community service. And so have we.

The Atlanta rapper’s new television series “T.I.’s Road to Redemption: 45 Days to Go” is about his last 45 days of community service, in which he inspires seven troubled teenagers to follow their dreams and stay away from the gang lifestyle.

The first episode premiered on Feb. 10 on MTV. It was a special one-hour episode that went deeply into T.I.’s life, including his family and troubled past.

Every episode has the same format: a new teenager involved with the wrong crowd is introduced, he thinks he’s being interviewed for an MTV show about gang life, and then T.I. walks into his house unexpectedly and tells the teen that he’s going to give him some advice to try to change his ways. “The last place they expect to see T.I. is in their own crib,” T.I. said on the show.

Then he takes him to a federal prison or a graveyard to emphasize the morbidity, and “likely outcome” of the “gangsta life.” “This is where you’ll end up if you keep doin’ what you’re doin’,” T.I. said

To further the message, he invites old friends to tell their stories of imprisonment or injury. They try to motivate the teen to rise above gang influence and “gang-banging.” In a wonderful send off to “follow your dreams,” T.I. and friends confirm that “you are not defined by your environment, unless you allow yourself to be.”

The show leaves viewers’ eyes brimming with tears. The King of the South does an excellent job inspiring his audience never to give up hope, telling viewers that anyone can be what they want to be, no matter which streets they’re from. “The choice is yours,” T.I. said.

Humbled by his own criminal acts, T.I. admits that he is deserving of his jail time and that he owes it to his family, friends and fans.

He may be on the road to redemption, but as far as viewers are concerned, he has already redeemed himself.

“T.I.’s Road to Redemption” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on MTV