Craig Mack, the Bad Boy Records affiliated rapper who first gained fame with the 1994 single, “Flava In Ya Ear,” has died at the age of 46 years old.
Mack was one of the first artists signed to the nascent Bad Boy Records by Puff Daddy in the early ’90s and gave the label its first successful rap single with “Flava In Ya Ear.” After the success of the original, the song’s remix introduced the world to The Notorious BIG, whose debut Ready To Die wound up outselling Mack’s Project: Funk Da World by a significant amount. Project: Funk Da World ultimately peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 and No. 6 on Billboard‘s US R&B charts and certified gold by the RIAA.
Mack’s follow-up album, Operation: Get Down was released by on Street Life after he separated from Bad Boy Records in 1995; however, the album failed to spawn a single anywhere near as successful at “Flava In Ya Ear,” and ultimately peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard 200 while failing to reach the same commercial success as his first album.
“Flava In Ya Ear” has come to be considered a hip-hop classic, even appearing in a recent car ad as motivational music, and Mack himself has become an icon of the early ’90s heyday of Bad Boy Records’ initial breakout years.
Mack’s death was confirmed by a number of the MCs, DJs, and producers who knew him, including Biz Markie, Funkmaster Flex, and DJ Scratch.