MABLETON, Ga. -- DJ Nabs immediately gets a smile on his face, thinking about the day he met Chris Kelly.
MORE | Witness tells police Chris Kelley used heroin and cocaine before death
"Real, honest, he loved his family. He loved his friends. He didn't mince words. He was direct. I loved that about him," said Nabs in his office, surrounded by pictures and albums marking their time together.
LISTEN | Chris did short radio interview day of his death
Nabs was the DJ for Kris Kross, going on the road with them during their tour with Michael Jackson. After four years of touring the world, the group split, allowing Nabs and Kross to grow from colleagues to close friends.
"He was a good soul. He was tormented, he wanted to do more," said Nabs.
Nabs says Kelly liked to party, calling his life style "fast" and "hard." He says friends and family tried to steer him away from drugs.
"But we as his family, which I think is important, was to be there when he made mistakes. And he was a smart kid. And he knew this was soemthing he needed to let go of at some point, some how," he said.
Indeed, according to the Fulton County police report, it was his mother that called 911 after trying to nurse him back from a night of partying. It was something police say she admitted doing several times before.
Nabs says Kelly loved music and missed the limelight. He was active writing songs and producing. He had gone back to school to learn how to be a musical engineer.
"You can imagine if you're 12 doing an album. 13 it sells millions and you're on tour and through no fault of your own it goes away. Because that's what happens. That's the nature of the music business. Not everybody's going to be Beyonce forever," said Nabs.
After a successful reunion performance, marking So So Def's 20th Anniversary, Kris Kross had talked about getting back together, at least for a few performances. Now that performance in February will be known as their last.