Barely three months into 2018, hip-hop has lost a veteran. Long Island rapper Craig Mack, who was signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy label in the ’90s, died yesterday (March 12). Alvin Toney, who produced Mack’s first studio album Project: Funk Da World, confirmed that the artist died from heart failure in a Walterboro, South Carolina, hospital.
“God bless my friend. He was a good friend of mine,” said Toney.
“He wasn’t scared.”
According to Toney, the former MC — who reportedly started writing raps at age 12 — knew that his time on Earth was coming to an end. “He was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord,” Toney said. “He was prepared to do that. He wasn’t scared. He was ready.”
Toney went on to say that the rapper left his two adult children and his wife behind.
The producer, who saw Mack for the last a week ago, was in the midst of filming a documentary about the “Jockin’ My Style” rapper. He reportedly visited Mack at Walterboro’s Overcomer Ministry church, learning more about his decision to choose “righteousness,” as Mack put it, over a life of fame.
“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.”
Though Mack has been out of the spotlight for the better part of the last two decades, his absence from the world is already being missed. Several rappers, DJs and the like have expressed their love and respect for Mack.
“RIP Craig Mack, Bad Boy’s first album artist. He had two perfect singles and the platonic rap remix. That’s more than most. May he kick that ol’ robotic, futuristic, George Jetson crazy s**t in the infinite,” tweeted Biz Mackie, a rapper/beatboxer active since the ’80s.
“RIP Craig Mack. The Flavor will always be in our Ear,” wrote Shinobi Ninja, a Brooklyn rock band. “RIP Craig Mack THE LEGEND,” Juicy J chimed in.
“The song FLAVOR IN YA EAR will live on forever,” E-40 tweeted. “I Only met Craig Mack a couple times back in the mid 90s & when I did he was hecka cool his rap style & swag was unmatched Sad to hear this news #RIPCraigMack.”
The Breakfast Club, Chuck D, Karen Civil, Ebro Darden, Peter Rosenberg, Joe Budden and more offered their respects as well.
Back in the Day
As the story goes, Diddy (who was going by Puffy at the time) met Mack a Manhattan’s Mecca club. The Bad Boy Ent. founder swore to sign Mack, then an aspiring rapper, if he could impressively freestyle to Mary J. Blige. Not too long after Mack blew Diddy away with his skills, “Flava In Ya Ear” was released.
“This is my life here,” Diddy said during a MTV Raps interview, motioning towards Mack and Notorious B.I.G. “We all need each other to live and breathe. That’s the way we treat each other.”
Hopping to make it big on his own, Mack left the label in 1995. However, he let go of that dream for life of deep religiousness.
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