Bad Boy rapper Craig Mack, best known for his 1994 hit Flava in Ya Ear, recently died in South Carolina at 46:
Alvin Toney, Mack’s producer on his Project: Funk Da World and Get Down Remix albums, confirmed the news in a statement to The New York Daily News, which reported Mack died on Monday from heart failure while in a hospital near his home in Waterboro, S.C.
“Nobody got to understand his story,” Toney said. “I wanted the world to know the talent he had. It was something I wanted people to enjoy, but it was cut short because he was very religious and wanted to go to church.”
Toney noted that Mack had struggled with illness for some time and said he was “prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord. He was prepared to do that. He wasn’t scared. He was ready.”
The rapper, who had the very first hit on P. Diddy’s iconic hip-hop label Bad Boy Records, said that he began writing his own lyrics at the age of 12 with aspirations of being “like LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C.”
“Craig is hip-hop’s George Clinton, because his stuff is really off the wall,” Diddy had told the Times for Mack’s 1995 profile. “He does what’s from his heart, which is where it starts for him. But his energy comes from somewhere else.”
Diddy considered Mack and Notorious B.I.G. to be the foundation that started Bad Boy Entertainment. “This is my life here. We all need each other to live and breathe. That’s the way we treat each other,” he told MTV Raps. Condolences started pouring in on social media once news of his passing spread.
I moved to New York City from Connecticut in 1994 – the year Mack’s Flava In Ya Ear took the rap world by storm. It was the sound of the city and you heard it everywhere you went. Mack, P. Diddy and Biggie Smalls ushered in a new sound in rap. The music, the clothes, the parties the swag – it dominated hip hop for a brief period. Rest in peace.