Mutah Beale was one of hip-hop's hottest young stars in the 1990s.
Formerly known by the stage name Napoleon, he was a member of The Outlawz and close confidant of the slain rapper Tupac Shakur.
However, in 2001, he swore off music and life's excesses after embracing Islam. Since then he has been performing in a different touring circuit that brought him to Dubai last year during Ramadan: that of a motivational speaker.
After travelling the world for nearly a decade warning youth of the dangers of the gang life and the music industry, Beale has decided to explain it more intimately in the memoir Napoleon, Life of an Outlaw.
"It's not a case about just putting a book out for the sake of it," he states. "From a young age I have seen some crazy things. Many people in the rap business didn't go through half of what I did."
Born in New Jersey, he witnessed his parents gunned down at a young age, suffered from alcoholism in his 20s and was part of hip-hop's violent east coast versus west coast conflict.
Beale, currently living in Saudi Arabia, says revisiting his violent past with co-writer Shafeeq Qasim was therapeutic.
"It was like my own personal therapy session and there were so many things that happened that I forgot about or didn't know existed," he says. "I got a lot of things off my chest."
But more than a gritty trip down memory lane, the memoir's major theme is of redemption.
Beale says with the book's release, and with an accompanying documentary to be released later in the year, he can finally close that chapter of his life.
"I can close that door and move on and leave the past to the past," he says.
"It is closing one door and opening the one for the future."
Napoleon, Life of an Outlaw is out now