Craig Mack, the ’90s rap star who helped put Diddy’s Bad Boy Records on the map, died at the age of 47. The rapper passed away at his home in South Carolina of natural causes.
The “Flava in Ya Ear” rapper was living in Walterboro, SC, where he had joined a church and committed himself to his religion.
His former producer, Alvin Toney, told the Daily News he’d seen him for the last time last week while filming a documentary on Craig’s new life.
Mack, along with Notorious B.I.G., was the first rap superstar for Diddy’s young label in the ’90s. He was born on Long Island, but got his break by freestyling over a Mary J. Blige track for Diddy.
The hip-hop star rose to fame in 1994 with the hit single Flava In Ya Ear, and was the first artist to release an album on P Diddy’s Bad Boy Records.
After splitting with Diddy, he released a second album, Operation: Get Down, but eventually left music and devoted his life to religion.
He was one of few Bad Boy Records artists who did not join the huge reunion tour a couple years ago. Craig was already committed to his new life in the South Carolina church by then.
Mack’s huge 1994 hit, ‘Flava,’ earned him a Best Rap Solo Grammy nomination, although he lost to Queen Latifah. No shame in that game.
RIP to kicking mad flava in ya ear … Mack was a brand new flava in ya ear.
LL Cool J, Funkmaster Flex, Biz Markie and DJ Scratch were among those paying tribute to the star.
“I just got a disturbing phone call. I cannot believe this dude is gone,” said Scratch on Instagram.
“He just reached out a couple of weeks ago for me to speak on his documentary about his life.
“Craig was my roadie on tour. He would set up & break down my turntables every night… Rest In Peace Lil Bro.”
“Rest in power Craig,” tweeted LL Cool J. “It was a pleasure to know you & rock with you. You stepped away from the game & did it your way. I always respected that.”
According to the New York Daily News, Craig died of heart failure in hospital near his home in South Carolina on 12 March.