Outkast rapper Big Boi to settle drug charges

MIAMI Thu Oct 13, 2011 7:08pm EDT

Rapper and producer Big Boi arrives at the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles June 27, 2010. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas

Rapper and producer Big Boi arrives at the 2010 BET Awards in Los Angeles June 27, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Gus Ruelas

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MIAMI (Reuters) - Grammy Award-winning Outkast rapper Big Boi will avoid jail time on drug charges in Florida if he passes several drug tests and performs community service, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The Atlanta-based rapper, whose real name is Antwan Patton, was arrested in Miami after leaving a cruise ship in August. Authorities accused him of having drugs including ecstasy and MDMA powder, according to an arrest report.

In court on Thursday, the 36-year-old rapper accepted an agreement that could lead to the two felony drug possession charges he faces being dropped.

Big Boi will be required to report to court for monthly drug tests for three months, the Miami prosecutor's office said. He must complete 30 hours of community service and donate $2,000 to charities.

The charges will be dropped if he remains drug-free and stays out of trouble for three months, but will be refiled if he does not meet all the conditions, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorney Richard Hersch said Big Boi was eligible for the judicial monitoring program because he has a clean record and does not have a problem with substance abuse.

"There's no admission of guilt that is involved with it," Hersch told Reuters.

Outkast was formed by Andre Benjamin (who later became known as Andre 3000) and Patton (Big Boi) in the 1990s with a distinct brand of southern-influenced hip hop music. The pair scored several hits over the years including pop song "Hey Ya" from 2003 album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

(Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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