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Krossed Out: “Kris Kross” Rapper Dies of Suspected Overdose
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Rap fans will be wearing their black armbands backwards today, to honor the legacy of Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly, one half of popular teen rap group Kris Kross. Kelly died yesterday in an Atlanta hospital of what authorities believe to be a drug overdose.

Fulton County Police Cpl. Kay Lester told the Associated Press that police were called to Kelly’s home at around 4:30 pm on Wednesday. Upon arrival, they transported him to the south campus of the Atlanta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 5 pm.


While no official cause of death has yet been determined, and an autopsy is pending, based on testimony from witnesses in Kelly’s home and evidence found at the scene, police believe he died from an overdose of drugs.

Kelly and his partner Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith rose to superstardom in the early ’90s as teenaged rappers known as Kris Kross. The duo was discovered by a then unknown Jermaine Dupri, who saw them performing at a mall in Atlanta.

One of the first rap songs to break through to the mainstream, Kris Kross’ first hit single “Jump” was extremely popular, and became a number one hit in both the United States and across the country.

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As a part of their popularity, Kelly and Smith launched the brief fashion trend of wearing one’s clothes backwards, as the duo did in their music videos and in their many appearances on television.

Subsequent chart-toppers from their 1992 album, “Totally Krossed Out,” were hits, but never achieved the level of ubiquity of “Jump.” During the duo’s biggest years of popularity, they guest starred on television shows, toured with Michael Jackson, and had their own video game.

Kelly and Smith reunited earlier in 2013 for a performance at the anniversary party for Dupri’s record label, So So Def.

Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, released a statement regarding the death of her son. “It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music. But to us, he was just Chris – the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party. His legacy will live on through his music and we will forever love him.”

Image Credit: AP/Joe Tabacca


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