Rapper Craig Mack has died at the age of 47 from heart failure in a hospital near his home in South Carolina on Monday, according to media reports.
The hip-hop star and P. Diddy’s protégé released his hit single in 1994 on the Bad Boy Record label.
Hailing from Brentwood, Long Island, he cut his first single while still a teenager, under the name MC EZ.
After it failed to make an impact, he worked as an assistant to local hip-hop heroes EPMD. They introduced him to Sean “Puffy” Combs – now known as P Diddy – who put him on a remix of Mary J Blige’s You Don’t Have To Worry in 1992.
Impressed with his contribution, Combs offered him a recording contract and released Mack’s laid-back debut album, Project: Funk da World, in 1994.
The success of the album was propelled by Flava In Ya Ear – especially the remix, which featured verses from Notorious BIG, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes.
The single was certified platinum and nominated for a Grammy the following year, while the follow-up single, Get Down, went gold.
However, Mack soon parted ways with Bad Boy Records – allegedly because of tense relations with Combs’ fellow protege Notorious BIG – and his subsequent releases failed to break the top 40.
After his second album, he largely retreated from the public eye and in 2012 was filmed at a church service denouncing the “wickedness” of his former life.
He returned to music last year, releasing the 18-track Mack World Sessions album.
EPMD’s Erick Sermon said Mack had been working on new material at the time of his death.
“I’m devastated over the news of Craig Mack,” he wrote on Twitter. “We just finishing up his new album… Rest in Power Craig.”
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