Rapper Craig Mack, best known for the platinum 1994 hit Flava in Ya Ear, has 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 just got a disturbing phone call,” DJ Scratch wrote on Instagram. “I cannot believe this dude is gone. He just reached out a couple of weeks ago for me to speak on his documentary about his life. Because Craig was my roadie on tour. He would set up & break down my turntables every night on tour. Rest In Peace Lil Bro.”
“Rest in power Craig,” LL Cool J responded to the news of Mack’s death over Twiter. “May the almighty embrace your soul & lift up your family and friends. it was a pleasure to know you & rock with you. You $tepped away from the game & did it your way.. I always respected that.#RIPCraigMack.”
Rest in power Craig. May the almighty embrace your soul & lift up your family and friends. it was a pleasure to know you & rock with you. You $tepped away from the game & did it your way.. I always respected that.#RIPCraigMack
Rest in Peace CRAIG MACK. Long Island's own. We were proud of Craig when he came out with the little indie song as MC EZ & TROUP. Then a few years later he went on to make one of the biggest most iconic songs in Hip Hop history. Rest EZ. Never forgotten. We love ya bro
1994, lunch. Me: I don't get Flava In Ya Ear. He's behind the beat. My friend @evanhr: Or maybe Craig Mack has a new flow, and your brain literally isn't ready for it. Me: … *5 hours later* Me: KICKIN..MAD…FLAVA…IN YA EARRRR *Evan was right*#RIPCraigMack