Mack grew up in Brentwood, Long Island, and recorded his earliest work as MC EZ. Via an introduction from rap group EPMD, he became one of the many proteges of Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who released Mack’s album Project: Funk da World in 1994. It contained the single Flava in Ya Ear, the remix of which reached the US Top 10 thanks in part to an all-star cast of guest rappers: the Notorious BIG, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J and Rampage.
Following the release of the 1997’s Operation: Get Down album which merely scraped the US Top 50. Craig Mack moved to South Carolina, where he became an evangelical Christian. He was filmed decrying his former life as “wickedness”.
He released an album in 2017, The Mack World Sessions.
Following the news of his demise, his friend and former producer Alvin Toney told the New York Daily News that Mack “was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord. He was prepared to do that. He wasn’t scared. He was ready.”
Other stars that paid tribute to the rapper include Eric Sermon who tweeted:
“I’m devastated … we just finishing up his new album.”
DJ Peter Rosenberg said:
“You cannot over emphasise the importance that Flava in Ya Ear had on hip-hop.”
According to the New York Daily News, Mack died of heart failure in hospital near his home in South Carolina on Monday.