Many Hip Hop fans have been celebrating the recent presidential pardons bestowed by Donald Trump. They included Kodak Black, Lil Wayne, and Death Row co-found Michael "Harry-O" Harris who has been imprisoned since 1988. Harris was convicted of drug trafficking and attempted murder, and after spending decades behind bars, he was scheduled for release in 2028. Now that he's a free man, the 59-year-old sat down for his first interview where he said he hopes that he will serve as a "cautionary tale" for others.

Snoop Dogg has been publicly praised for lobbying in favor of Harris's freedom, but he wasn't the only person making moves. Harris told DailyMailTV that billionaire Chris Redlitz, MC Hammer, and other activists were instrumental in convincing the Trump administration that Harris was deserving of release.

"I appreciate Donald Trump, his children, his son-in-law. Whyever he did it, he did it, when so many others wouldn't do it," Harris said. "First of all, I'm grateful that God did whatever God do to get me to sit in this seat. And whatever vessel he used... I put in for clemency with Obama and it had to go through so many bureaucratic loopholes it never got to him I don't believe. But it didn't happen on his watch."

"There's not a dime of difference between Democrats and Republicans when it comes down to results to me at this point," Harris continued. "Until that change, I don't have a dog in the fight, unless the people that's in power deal with the people that are powerless in a respectful way." He also reflected on growing up in South Central, Los Angeles, and expressed remorse for being involved in the drug game, even though at the time, it was an act of survival.

"I done sit in prison with people who have been on drugs for the last 20 or 30 years. I been in prison with crack babies, their parents is people who consumed the drugs that me and so many other people sold," said Harris. "And I had to sit with them, I had to talk to them, I had to see the results of what we did."

"I'm telling you man, every day, even now, I think about my participation and it makes me sick to my stomach that I let them trick me to help kill my people. That's killing me even today." He added a few thoughts about being locked up, as well. "Being on death row is weird, it's real quiet. I would hear when they would take guys to the chamber. I would hear them walking, saying 'pray for me'. It had a profound effect on me, it changed my life. It made me want to tell those stories. There comes the name Death Row."

Harris revealed that he plans on dedicating his life to criminal justice reform and to help economically disenfranchised, crime-ridden communities through his newly launched charity, Community One World.

[via]