Legendary rapper Craig Mack passes at 46
Mack is best known for his widely popular songs “Flava in Ya Ear” and “Just Rhyming.”
Craig Mack was born in the Bronx of New York City in 1971. He was hooked on rap by his cousins at age nine and began to write his own lyrics at age 12. Mack then began his rhyming career in the late 1980s under the alias MC EZ. The rapper released a single, “Just Rhymin” backed with “Get Re****ed,” a 12-inch on Fresh Records in 1988. The B-side went on to become a favorite among rap fans and was interpolated by Dr. Dre and LL Cool J for the single “Zoom.”
Mack met P. Diddy for the first time outside of a club in Manhattan called Mecca. He freestyled for Diddy and impressed him enough to earn a record contract. Shortly after, the newly signed rapper delivered “Flava in Ya Ear,” which was widely successful. The classic hit reached No. 1 on the Billboard rap songs chart and No. 9 on the Hot 100, and also earned a Best Rap Solo Performance Grammy nomination.
After his breakthrough with “Flava in Ya Ear” and its accompanying gold-certified album “Project: Funk Da World,” Mack struggled to replicate his initial success. He then left Bad Boy Records and released his sophomore album “Operation: Get Down” in 1997 but did not score a hit from the album.
After his lack of success in the years to come, Mack went on to become a minister in South Carolina and appeared to renounce his former life as a rapper in a 2012 video. The video, taken at the Overcomer Ministry commune in Walterboro, SC, shows the group’s pastor Ralph Gordon Stair talking to Mack. “Craig Mack is dead,” Stair tells the congregation. “We have somebody that used to be Craig Mack.”
The hip-hop world grieves the loss of Mack, who was the essence of class and a legend in every sense. We thank him for the sounds with which he has blessed millions of listeners’ ears. Rest in peace, Craig Mack, one of the greatest and most original to touch the mic.