Producer Alvin Toney confirmed to the New York Daily News that Craig Mack suffered fatal heart failure at a hospital near his home in Walterboro, South Carolina, yesterday (March 12). Colleton County, South Carolina Coroner Richard Harvey told Variety that the rapper was 47 years old.
According to his biography on Allmusic.com, the Long Island MC entered the public sphere when Sean “Diddy” Combs, impressed by Mack’s verse on a remix of a Mary J. Blige’s “You Don’t Have to Worry,” signed the rapper to his then-fledgling label, Bad Boy Records.
Mack helped put Bad Boy on the map with his song “Flava In Ya Ear.” The single’s success was heightened by a remix that featured The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Rampage and LL Cool J. USA Today writes that the remix was one of the first “posse cuts,” where solo rappers trade verses, to break into the mainstream. The Recording Industry Association of America notes that the original single went platinum by the end of 1994.
Mack left Combs and Bad Boy after his first album, “Project: Funk Da World,” and ultimately exited the music industry after the comparatively dismal performance of his second album, “Operation: Get Down.” Mack later moved to South Carolina, where he joined The Overcomer Ministry and remained a faithful adherent to the church until his death.
Toney told the Daily News that he was working on a documentary about Mack. “Nobody got to understand his story,” he 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.”
I’m devastated over the news of Craig Mack.. We just finishing up his new album.. smh.. Rest in Power Craig…
— Erick Sermon (@iAmErickSermon) March 13, 2018
Mack’s name trends on Twitter today as Sermon and others tweet their condolences:
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.
*5 hours later*
Me: KICKIN..MAD…FLAVA…IN YA EARRRR
*Evan was right*#RIPCraigMack
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 13, 2018
So sad to hear of the passing of Craig Mack! “Flava in ya ear” is my top five favorite rap song of all time. Such great talent that never had the chance to truly flourish. Prayers of comfort and strength to his family. #RIPCraigMack
— Annie Apple (@SurvivinAmerica) March 13, 2018
— Sister of Wakanda (@Ray_Oshun) March 13, 2018
Rest in Beats Craig Mack
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 13, 2018
Craig Mack died and my feelings are hurt right now. So sad. I remember when Flava in Ya Ear dropped. RIP. pic.twitter.com/kL9PNMMlR7
— GirlTyler (@sheistyler) March 13, 2018
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
— R.A. the Rugged Man (@RAtheRuggedMan) March 13, 2018
There’s something heartbreaking about so many hip-hop legends dying in their 40s and early 50s from health-related issues. Combat Jack, Craig Mack, Prodigy, and the list grows. It’s also also amazing to think about how much they changed culture as such young men.
— Evette Dionne (@freeblackgirl) March 13, 2018
Celebrate Mack with the following standout tracks: