Tupac was no more a gangster or a criminal than I was. Self-defence is not being a gangster. He was a black man trying to defend himself in a society that sought to extinguish him. He was fighting for his life from the moment he was born. But it wasn't his colour that was the real issue. Other black men have been able to succeed but Pac had something else. It was his truth. He tried to defend it in the conventional ways: ammunition, military strategies but ultimately he accepted another higher discipline.

I worked at Death Row longer than he, I lived in Watts, I hung out with killers, real live gangsters, prostitutes, addicts and no one threw me in jail, villified me, mistook me for a gangbanger and rapist.  So why did they do Tupac like that? What had he actually DONE? Tupac's motto 'T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E.' (The Hate You Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody) was the exact same sentiment of my magazine which ran articles on how the children we forgot today would be the killers of tomorrow. Because I was a writer, I could publish this. Pac was an artist - he tattood it on his body. Today that's called commitment, its called performance art. If Lady Gaga, Rhianna or Beyonce wear stripper shoes, hot pants or tattoo their bodies we don't put them in prison for soliciting. If Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin show some dishevelled piece of contemporary living, we applaud it. But when the truth hits the bone, society recoils.

Pac's pure message was for a corrupt and ignorant society who were becoming increasingly blind and deaf in the dark. Pac was light, he was water, he was elemental, the real essence. What we saw and corresponded about nineteen years ago, people still can't get their heads around yet it's not rocket science.

The world judged him wrongly and most foully. It condemned him to the death of a common gangbanger and refused him the regular decent justice of a human being, of a tax-paying, hard-working citizen of the USA. I got a better deal than he did and I'm not an American citizen.

That has been what hurt me the most. I worked at Death Row Records, helped build it, Pac was my one true friend before I joined and the greed and bad energies which crammed around  his light and truth tarnish still his legacy. The world will never get any more of him. Be grateful for what you got and learn your lesson: Cherish the light - don't try to control or extinguish it because you can go NOWHERE in the dark.

He was a poet, an erudite visionary, a man of letters with the capacity to reconfigure the arts into an international political money-making, jobs-creating cultural enterprise.

They tried to steal his game and failed - abyssmally as the years testify. No matter how you try, you still haven't got the blueprint and, as long as the greed and lies persist, you never will.