Hip Hop / Music / Spotlight

Cult Report remembers Flava in Ya Ear rapper, Craig Mack

Craig Mack, Biggie, Notorious B.I.G, Biggie Small, Cult report

Craig Mack and Notorious B.I.G

Someone randomly said to me that Craig Mack passed away to rap in peace and I was completely surprised, just couldn’t believe it. That was exactly what I thought, until I looked online and saw the tragic news on almost every entertainment platform. I thought how can it be? The man wasn’t old, perhaps another rap killing but this isn’t the 90’s, so must have probably been from illness. So to pay homage to one of hip hop history’s most iconic voices, Craig Mack was only 46 years old when he passed away at his South Carolina home, 12 March 2018  from heart failure.

Watch Craig Mack’s Flava In Ya Ear

For those who don’t know, Craig Mack first came onto the scene as MC EZ releasing his debut single ” Just Rhymin” and ” Get retarded” in 1988, under the label Fresh Records. In the early 90’s he worked  for long island hip hop crew EPMD as a roadie, transporting and setting up equipment for the group. While touring with EPMD, Craig met Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy who at the time was working as an A&R for Uptown/MCA records. After meeting Puff, he featured on a remix of Mary J. Blige’s single ” You don’ have to worry” in 1992, showcasing the natural talent he possessed. The following year Puff Daddy would lose his job and start his own label Bad Boy Records, with Craig Mack being the first artist signed.

Craig Mack performs”Get Down” (remix) live on UK show The Word

His first single  “Flava in Ya Ear” released at Bad Boy records, became the first hit for Sean Combs, ultimately building the foundation and massively raised the profile of  Bad Boy records. The smash hit released in 1994, spent 14 weeks at #1 on the Hot Rap Songs chart, a record at the time. The massive success of the single peaked at #9 on the Billboard hot 100 chart, reaching platinum sales status. ‘Flava in Ya Ear” was released on Mack’s debut album Project: Funk Da World, which included singles “Making moves with Puff” and “Get Down”,  successfully reaching Gold sales status and peaked at #6 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart of 1994. ” Get Down” was the second hit on the album peaking at #2 on the Hot Rap Songs chart of that time. He had also received a Grammy nomination for his hit song “Flava in Ya Ear”.

“Making Moves with Puff”

The “Flava in Ya Ear” remix released in 1995, featuring The Notorious BIG, Rampage, Busta Rhymes and L.L. Cool J, became a massive video hit, which launched the career of B.I.G. and revived LL Cool J’s one. He went on to release his second LP Operation: Get Down in 1997, not as successful as his debut album but managed to reach #17 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart for that year. Craig Mack just vanished from the music scene after leaving Bad Boy Entertainment to pursue his own label Mack World Entertainment, despite appearing on Bad Boy album “We Invented The Remix Vol. 1” 2002. He had been planning to release a third album titled Affiliation in 2007, but I don’t know the exact details of this release. In 2012 Beazylife Distribution released a Mack mixtape, titled Operation Why2K? – Hosted by B-Eazy’, through DatPiff.com. His last official album release titled Mack World Sessions came out in 2017 a year before he died.

“Flava In Ya Ear” Remix

Craig Mack did not only put Bad Boy Entertainment on the map but also contributed tremendously to the Hip-Hop era. Many believe that because of the rise of Notorious B.I.G, Craig Mack was shelved for 3 years at Bad Boy, and if his next album had been released , he would have followed up the success and buzz around him. However, he was an artist we will surely miss and never forget.

What is your favorite Craig Mack track or remix?

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