Craig Mack
Craig Jamieson Mack

(1970-05-10)May 10, 1970
DiedMarch 12, 2018(2018-03-12) (aged 47)
Years active
  • 1988–2006
  • 2012–2018
Musical career
Associated acts

Craig Jamieson Mack (May 10, 1970[3] – March 12, 2018) was an American rapper and record producer. He helped build the foundation for Bad Boy Records, one of hip hop’s most influential labels.

Born in The Bronx but raised in Long Island,[3] Craig Mack began rapping as a teenager under the name MC EZ and released one single in 1988, "Just Rhymin'" backed with “Get Retarded,” as part of MC EZ & Troup. Mack then became friends with fellow Long Island hip hop act EPMD and eventually went on tour with the duo, doing jobs as a roadie. After a few years without forward movement in his recording career, Mack took advantage of an opportunity to rap for Sean Combs, and secured a record deal with Combs’s newly founded label, Bad Boy. Mack is best known for his 1994 hit, "Flava in Ya Ear".


His first single "Get Retarded/Just Rhymin'" was released under the name MC EZ in 1988 on Fresh Records. Mack is best known for his 1994 hit single "Flava In Ya Ear", which was released under his real name. The remix of the single was the breakout appearance of The Notorious B.I.G., as well as one of the first solo appearances by Busta Rhymes.[4] While Mack was technically the first rapper to release music on Bad Boy Records,[3][5] the success of The Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album Ready to Die, which released exactly seven days before Mack's debut album Project Funk da World, overshadowed Mack's early success on the label.[4]

Although Sean Combs mentioned in a 1994 interview on MTV's Yo! MTV Raps that he was working with Mack on his second album, which was to be released sometime in January the following year, this proved to not be the case. Present at that interview (which also included The Notorious B.I.G.), Mack himself appeared puzzled by the statement.[6] Mack did release a second album in 1997, but none of the singles charted and Mack was unable to repeat his success. In an interview, The Notorious B.I.G. says he appeared on the remix of "Flava In Ya Ear" for political reasons for Combs.[7] In 2002, Mack would appear in the music video for Puffy's single "I Need a Girl (Part One)".[8]

After a few attempts to return to success in the early-2000s, it was said that Mack was working on his third studio album in 2002, which was set to be released in 2007.[citation needed] The single "Mack Tonight" was released for the album in 2006.

Mack then disappeared from the hip hop industry until in 2012, when a video was leaked on YouTube saying he had joined a Christian ministry, surprising family members and fans.[9][10] From 2012 until his death, Mack resided in the Overcomer Ministry located in Walterboro, South Carolina.[11] The Overcomer Ministry is a secluded Christian commune that has been described as a cult,[12][9] and whose leader Brother Stair has been charged with various crimes including assault and sexual conduct with a minor.[12] The Overcomer Ministry's YouTube channel released a video titled "Craig Mack Testimony" on May 22, 2016,[13] in which Mack appears in the middle of the church to rap about Christianity through a remix of "When God Comes".[14] The last part of the video entails a full version of the song with better production quality and a beat. The song expresses his personal beliefs. Mack planned to stay in the ministry and said that he had no intentions to come back to mainstream rap.[citation needed] The song also mentions that he "moved [his] family to South Carolina", which did not align with other reports expressing the family's concerns for his choices.[15] According to the video, Mack felt he was doing "wickedness" in New York, and "righteousness" in South Carolina.[16]

On November 26, 2012, Beazylife Distribution released a new Craig Mack mixtape, Operation Why2K? – Hosted by B-Eazy, through[17] In 2017, The Mack World Sessions was released, containing 18 previously unreleased tracks.[18] Dutch record label, MECSMI, released the 'That's My Word' mixtape, hosted by DJ Tape Deck King, via DatPiff and YouTube on August 20, 2018.[19] On November 25, 2018, 'That's My Word' posthumously won Mixtape of the Year at Bout Dat Online's Audio Dope Awards.[20] This marked the first time Mack had won an award since "Flava In Ya Ear" won Single of the Year at the 1995 Source Awards.[21]


Mack died on March 12, 2018 from heart failure at a hospital near his home at Walterboro, South Carolina.[22][23] According to DJ Scratch, he was ill for some time before his death and was prepared for a grim outcome. Mack was apparently suffering from heart failure, having developed shortness of breath from around six months before his death when, according to rapper Erick Sermon, he called his friends to bid farewell.[24] Following Mack's death, Sermon wrote on Twitter that he was finishing work on Craig Mack's new album. Mack is survived by his wife and two adult children.[25]


Studio albums

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
Project: Funk da World 21 6
Operation: Get Down
  • Release date: June 24, 1997
  • Label: Street Life Records/Scotti Brothers
  • Formats: CD, cassette
46 17
The Mack World Sessions
  • Release date: September 1, 2017
  • Label: Mack World
  • Formats: Digital download


Years Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
US Rap
1994 "Flava in Ya Ear" 9 4 1 57 Project: Funk Da World
"Get Down" 38 17 2 54
1995 "Making Moves with Puff"
1997 "What I Need" 103 55 16 Operation: Get Down
1998 "Jockin My Style"
1999 "Wooden Horse"
(featuring Frank Sinatra)
What's the Worst That Could Happen? & The Mack World Sessions
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Music videos

Year Video Director
1994 "Flava in Ya Ear" Craig Henry


  1. ^ "Craig Mack, 'Flava in Ya Ear' Rapper, Dead at 47". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Craig Mack Has Died Of Heart Failure At 47". XXL Magazine. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Caramanica, Jon (2018-03-13). "Craig Mack, 'Flava in Ya Ear' Rapper, Is Dead at 47". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  4. ^ a b Thompson, Paul (2018-03-13). "Remembering Craig Mack, Bad Boy's Forgotten First Success Story". Vulture. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  5. ^ "How Craig Mack helped secure Bad Boy Records' place in hip-hop history". The Independent. 2018-03-19. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  6. ^ "Diddy/Puff Daddy CAUGHT Lying to Craig Mack about 2nd album!!!". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  7. ^ "Notorious BIG With Lil Cease Interview (Throwback Footage)". YouTube.
  8. ^ "P. Diddy [feat. Usher & Loon] - I Need A Girl Part 1 (Official Music Video)". Retrieved 19 November 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Is Craig Mack Part Of A Religious Cult? | The Urban Daily". Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  10. ^ "r/hiphopheads - Wait, so hold up, did Craig Mack join a doomsday cult?". reddit. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  11. ^ Nicola Menzie, "Rapper Craig Mack, Now a Christian, Testifies of Leaving 'Wickedness' for 'Righteousness' in Church Video," The Christian Post, August 8, 2013.
  12. ^ a b Schladebeck, Jessica. "Inside the controversial 'cult' where rapper Craig Mack spent his final years". Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  13. ^ The Overcomer Ministry (2016-05-22), Craig Mack Testimony, retrieved 2016-06-10
  14. ^ BoomBap4Life (2011-04-10), 10 – When God Comes – Craig Mack, retrieved 2016-06-10
  15. ^ "MTO WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!! Former Bad Boy Artist Craig Mack JOINS A CULT!! (He's Living In A COMPOUND . . . Run By A Man Who Calls Himself THE MESSIAH) –™".™. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2016-06-10.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ tlink79 (2012-05-22), Craig Mack and His NEW RAP – The Video – See it LIVE!, retrieved 2016-06-10
  17. ^ "Operation Why2k? Mixtape by Craig Mack Hosted by B-Eazy". Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  18. ^ "Listen To Craig Mack's Last Album 'The Mack World Sessions'". Vibe. 2018-03-13. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  19. ^ "That's My Word Mixtape by Craig Mack Hosted by Tape Deck King". Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  20. ^ "Bout Dat Online's Audio Dope Awards 2018 (hosted by United Elementz Media) – WINNERS!". BOUT DAT LIFE!. 2018-11-25. Retrieved 2020-11-19.
  21. ^ "Bout Dat Online's Audio Dope Awards 2018 (hosted by United Elementz Media) – WINNERS!". Bout Dat Online. 2018-11-25. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  22. ^ "90s Hip hop star Craig Mack dead at 46". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Craig Mack, New York rapper on Diddy's Bad Boy label, dead at 46". NY Daily News. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  24. ^ "Craig Mack Died of Congestive Heart Failure, Says Erick Sermon". TMZ. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  25. ^ "Craig Mack Dead at 47". Complex. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Craig Mack Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  27. ^ "Craig Mack Album & Song Chart History – R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2011..He know resides in Baldwin Hills, Ca
  28. ^ a b c "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
  29. ^ "Craig Mack Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  30. ^ "Craig Mack Album & Song Chart History – R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  31. ^ "Craig Mack : Allmusic : Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved May 27, 2011.
  32. ^ "Chart Log UK: M – My Vitriol". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 27, 2011.