Rapper Ja Rule has been jailed for up to two years in a gun case, bidding a stoic but upbeat farewell-for-now to family and fans at a New York courthouse.
The multi-platinum-selling rapper and actor - whose gravelly voice, thuggish tough talk and duets with R&B divas made him one of rap's stars in the early 2000s - signed autographs for fans on his way to be sentenced after pleading guilty in December to attempted criminal weapon possession
The case stemmed from a gun found in his luxury sports car in July 2007.
"See y'all later," he told family and friends in the courtroom audience as he was handcuffed.
"Love you!" called the group, including his wife, Aisha, and his mother and mother-in-law.
Dressed in a white T-shirt, grey trousers and a grey hooded sweat shirt, he replied: "Love you, too."
With that, Ja Rule, 35, was led away to start serving his sentence. He'll briefly be in a city jail before heading to a state prison yet to be determined.
He also faces the possibility of a federal prison sentence for failing to pay taxes on more than 3 million dollars in income; he pleaded guilty to that in March. He faces up to three years in prison in that case, though his will push for his term - if any - to be served at the same time as his New York term.
His sentencing in the tax case had been set for June 13, but it is being postponed to give New York authorities time to arrange to transport him, said his lawyer, Stacey Richman.