According to the New York Daily News, the rapper died of heart bankruptcy at his Walterboro, South Carolina home. His death was confirmed by Mack ’ s former producer Alvin Toney .
“ Craig Mack, you were the first gear artist to release music on Bad Boy and gave us our first hit, ” Sean “ Diddy ” Combs tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “ You constantly followed your heart and you had an energy that was out of this world. You believed in me and you believed in Bad Boy. I will never forget what you did for hip-hop. You inspired me, and I will continue to try to keep inspiring others. We will always love you. ”
Mack is best known for the indelible classical “ Flava in Ya Ear, ” – a peak 10 hit in 1994 that sold over a million copies – and its subsequent remix featuring Notorious B.I.G, LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Rampage. The original would finally reach No. 1 on the Billboard rap songs graph and No. 9 on the Hot 100 and earn a Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy nomination. “ Craig is hip-hop ’ mho George Clinton, because his stuff is truly off the wall, ” Diddy once told The New York Times. “ He does what ’ sulfur from his affection, which is where it starts for him. But his energy comes from somewhere else. ”
Mack, born in the Bronx in 1970, helped make Bad Boy Records synonymous with New York rap, kickstarting the label that would finally make stars of Notorious B.I.G., Mase, 112 and more. In a 1995 profile in The New York Times, Mack said he was hooked on blame by his cousins at historic period nine and began to write his own lyrics at old age 12. “ I knew I wanted to be like LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C., ” Mack recalled .
He became friendly with members of another celebrated New York rap group, EPMD, and accompanied them on tour. He did odd jobs for the group and did not perform, but Mack silent remembered the experience as a valuable matchless. “ All the prison term I was getting an education learning about the studio and the road, ” he explained .
Mack beginning started rhyming in the late 1980s. Under the mention MC EZ, listed aboard DJ Troup, he released a single 12-inch on fresh Records in 1988 : “ Just Rhymin ‘ ” b/w “ Get Retarded. ” The agile B-side would become a fave among rap fans and was interpolated by Dr. Dre and LL Cool J for the single “ Zoom. ” Mack finally met Diddy – who was at that time looking to set up Bad Boy after being fired from Uptown Records – outside the club Mecca in Manhattan. Mack freestyled for Diddy and earned a record contract .
After breaking through with “ Flava in Ya Ear ” and its accompanying gold-certified album Project: Funk Da World, Mack struggled to replicate his initial success. He left Bad Boy Records and released Operation: Get Down in 1997 but did not score a hit from the album. Mack by and by appeared in the video for Diddy ’ second hit “ I Need a Girl Part 1, ” but his solo career never regained momentum .
Mack finally became a minister in South Carolina and appeared to renounce his erstwhile life as a rapper in a 2012 video recording. The video, taken at the Overcomer Ministry commune in Walterboro, S.C., shows the group ’ s curate Ralph Gordon Stair talking to Mack. “ Craig Mack is dead, ” Stair tells the congregation. “ We have person that used to be Craig Mack. ”
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In Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: The Bad Boy Story, the 2017 documentary chronicling the rise of Combs ’ revered label and reunion tour, Mack can be heard discussing the hypothesis of returning to the stage, but declined because of his religious beliefs .
“ I don ’ thymine think anybody was disappointed, ” Combs told Billboard last year . “ We kind of respected his wishes. In this game, world, people don ’ metric ton realize the music diligence only has a one percentage rate proportion, thus sometimes it ’ second very nerve-racking and it brings you only to places that you can go to and should go to, which is God. We can respect that because if any of us is placid here, we ’ five hundred have to go to him, excessively. sometimes, people can ’ thymine base on balls back and forth in both worlds. ”
Earlier this year, Erick Sermon recruited Mack alongside Method Man and Mr. Cheeks for “ Come Thru, ” the first gear single off Sermon ’ s approaching album. “ I ’ thousand devastated over the news of Craig Mack, ” Sermon tweeted. “ We equitable finishing up his new album. ”
“ It was a pleasure to know you & rock with you, ” LL Cool J added. “ You $ tepped away from the game & did it your way.. I always respected that. ”
“ I am grateful to have worked with him, ” Missy Elliott tweeted. “ He was so kind, funny story & talented. ”
Toney, who helped produce Project: Funk Da World, told the NY Daily News he was working on a documentary about Mack. “ cipher got to understand his narrative, ” Toney said. “ I wanted the earth to know the endowment he had. It was something I wanted people to enjoy, but it was cut curtly because he was identical religious and wanted to go to church. ”
Craig Mack – “Flava in Ya Ear”
Craig Mack – “Jockin My Style”