Craig Mack Has Passed Away At The Age Of 47
MARCH 15 UPDATE: The New York Times has confirmed that Craig Mack was 47 years old at the time of his passing. The Colleton County coroner reports that the rapper died of “natural causes.”
ORIGINAL MARCH 13 STORY: Craig Mack, the artist who, with his single “Flava In Ya Ear,” is largely responsible for the launch of Bad Boy Entertainment, has died at age 46. According to reports, Mack died of heart failure at a hospital near his home in Walterboro, South Carolina on Monday (March 12).
“Here comes the brand new flava in ya ear. Time for new flava in ya ear. I’m kickin’ new flava in ya ear. Mack’s the brand new flava in ya ear.” In the Summer of 1994, those words were inescapable in cars, in clubs, on radio and on TV. Craig’s booming voice and unorthodox style, combined with producer Easy Mo Bee’s futuristic Funk, were truly a brand new sound for a time in which Hip-Hop was undergoing a profound shift. For the last few years prior, the sound waves had been dominated by the West Coast-style G-Funk fueled by Dr. Dre’s production, and with one single, Mack put himself, Bad Boy and New York City Hip-Hop on mainstream radio. The song would go to #1 on the Billboard Rap Charts, and climb to #9 on the publication’s Hot 100 Singles chart.
While The Notorious B.I.G. later became more closely associated with Bad Boy’s success, Mack’s “Flava” was the first of a massive 1-2 punch that anchored the label and its “Big Mack Attack” on the Rap world. The two later joined forces on the remix to “Flava In Ya Ear,” along with Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J, but the promise of the power of their joint forces was cut short by Mack’s unceremonious exit from the label, after the release of his debut album Project: Funk Da World. Mack would go on to release one more album, Operation: Get Down in 1997, before leaving the music industry entirely, to devote his life to religion.
In 2017, a documentary titled Crazy Like That Glue: The Craig Mack Story was released, which shed new light into Mack’s split from Bad Boy. The film, which did not feature the Long Island, New Yorker, also explored his religious conviction, which was on full display in a clip of Mack that was released in 2016. In that video, the former EPMD affiliate known as MC EZ was shown in his church, speaking about his departure from the music industry. Ironically, the testimony ended with a full Rap song that was appended to the end of the clip. While the subject matter was completely different from his material of the past, the song showed Mack still maintained his distinctive flow.
In January, Craig Mack appeared as a guest on Erick Sermon’s single “Come Thru” alongside Mr. Cheeks of The Lost Boyz. It marked a return to Rap, and a reunion of sorts with the EPMD family tree.
According to the New York Daily News, Alvin Toney, Mack’s friend and longtime producer, was in the process of making an authorized documentary of the enigmatic MC before he passed away. “Nobody got to understand his story,” Toney told The Daily News. “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 says Mack revealed he was ill when they saw each other last week, and that Mack was at peace with his condition. “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.”
Craig Mack is survived by his wife and two children. Ambrosia For Heads extends its deepest condolences to Mack’s family, friends and millions of fans.