Craig Mack, the rapper best known for the classic ’90s single “Flava In Ya Ear,” has died. Richard Harvey of the Colleton County Coroner’s office confirmed to NPR Music that Mack died in his home near Walterboro, S.C., around 9 p.m. on March 12, of natural causes. He was 46.
A New York native, Mack initially released music under the moniker MC EZ in the late 1980s. But it was Mack’s Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling 1994 song “Flava In Ya Ear” that made his name. The song was the first single released by Sean Combs’ then-fledgling record label Bad Boy Entertainment. Propelled by the hit, Mack released his debut album, Project Funk da World, in September, 1994 — two other tracks from the record, “Get Down” and “Project: Funk Da World” also received gold certifications, along with the album itself. After that success, Mack left Bad Boy to release his sophomore album, Operation: Get Down, in 1997.
Mack subsequently retreated from music, maintaining a quiet life in South Carolina. There, Mack joined the Overcomer Ministry, a congregation led by controversial evangelist Ralph Gordon Stair, who was charged this past December with a litany of offenses, including three counts of criminal sexual conduct. A video which surfaced around 2012 shows Stair beginning an introduction by proclaiming: “Crack Mack is dead! We have somebody who used to be Craig Mack — and he didn’t join [our church], God joined him.” Afterwards, Mack addresses the congregation, responding to Stair’s question of what he used to “do” out in the world by answering: “Wickedness.”