The music industry is mourning the loss of Craig Mack, who has passed away at age 46.
So young! Tragic.
His producer confirmed this to The Daily News. It seems that heart failure was to blame and he ascended at a hospital near his Walterboro, S.C., home on Monday.
The Long Island rapper found fame on Sean "Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records in the mid-1990s, launching to hip-hop stardom with the platinum hit “Flava in Ya Ear” in 1994.
“God bless my friend. He was a good friend of mine,” said Alvin Toney, who produced Mack’s debut album “Project: Funk Da World”, as well as his "Get Down Remix."
RIP #CraigMack! According to the New York Daily News, the “Flava In Your Ear” rapper (46) died of heart failure in a hospital near his home in South Carolina on Monday night. Condolences to his family and friends.
Alvin actually saw his buddy last week. He visited the former emcee at the Overcomer Ministry church he attends in Walterboro to film a documentary about Mack…and his decision to pass on fame for a life of religious conviction.
“Nobody got to understand his story,” Alvin explained. “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.”
Alvin said Mack told him during his visit that he had been ill for some time; he knew he wouldn’t live long.
“He was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord,” he continued. “He was prepared to do that. He wasn’t scared. He was ready.”
Mack is survived by his wife and two adult children, Alvin said.
According to a New York Times profile of Mack, he began penning his own lyrics at age 12, dreaming of making it big like LL Cool J and Run DMC.
Diddy (who was then going by Puffy) met the aspiring artist at the Manhattan club Mecca and promised to sign him if he could freestyle to Mary J. Blige. And Mack did not disappoint.
Before long, Mack’s star-studded hit, “Flava In Ya Ear,” hit the soundwaves. The track went on to earn a Grammy nomination for best rap solo, though it ended up losing to Queen Latifah’s “Latifah’s Had it Up 2 Here.”
A remix to the song featured Diddy's other up-and-coming stars, including rapper Christopher Wallace—otherwise known as Biggie Smalls/the Notorious B.I.G.—who was largely responsible for bringing the record label to the public’s attention, thanks to his hit 1994 album "Ready to Die."
At the time, Diddy declared both Biggie Smalls and Mack the foundation of Bad Boy Entertainment.
“This is my life here,” Diddy said, gesturing towards Mack and Biggie Smalls during an interview with MTV Raps. “We all need each other to live and breathe. That’s the way we treat each other.”
Mack left the label in 1995, hoping to strike out on his own, but this was not to be.
He released "Operation: Get Down," in 1997 under the Volcano Entertainment label, but this didn’t quite take off.
However, Mack appeared in the music video for Diddy's 2002 hit "I Need a Girl Part 1," but he was missing when Diddy reunited his Bad Boy crew for the BET Awards in 2015, having slipped away from the spotlight to focus on his faith.
“Rest In Peace! Good brother,” Funkmaster Flex, the Hot 97 DJ who played Mack’s hits on the NYC station posted.
Rest In Peace! Good brother... #CraigMack .... Alvin Toney love my brother...
Brooklyn’s DJ Scratch remembered Mack as the hardworking roadie, who helped set up and break down his turntables on tours.
“I cannot believe this dude is gone,” DJ Scratch (A.K.A George Spivey) shared. “He just reached out a couple of weeks ago for me to speak on his documentary about his life.”
I just got a disturbing phone call. 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. Rest In Peace Lil Bro.
“Rest In Peace Lil Bro,” he wrote in an Instagram post.
“R.I.P TO MY MAIN MAN CRAIG MACK ANOTHER GREAT ONE GONE”.