Craig Mack, “Brand New Flava in Ya Ear” died Monday in his Walterboro, SC home, as reported first by New York Daily News on Monday.
Craig Mack, 1971-2018, age 46.
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey confirmed the news to the Associated Press, revealing that Mack appeared to have died from natural causes at his home.
Mack is a Brentwood, Long Island, NY Native survived by his wife and two adult children. Mack traded his life of stardom in the music industry with (Sean Combs aka P. Diddy) Bad Boy label’s 1994 hit “Flava in Ya Ear”, for working at his local place of worship, the Overcomer Ministry Church, according to Daily News.
Mack’s producer, Alvin Toney on his debut album, Project: Funk Da World, had an opportunity to see Mack last week as he worked on a documentary about the star.
“Nobody got to understand his story,” Tony told The Daily News. “I wanted the world to know the talent he had. It was something I wanted people to enjoy, but it was cut short because he was very religious and wanted to go to church.”
Mack got his start at a young age, dropping his first single under the name MC EZ when he was just a teenager, according to the Daily News. He made his major label recording debut on a remix of Mary J. Blige‘s “You Don’t Have To Worry” in 1992, his first time working with P. Diddy. A recording contract would follow.
“Flava in Ya Ear” was a certified platinum hit, peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. The track earned Mack a Grammy nomination for best rap solo performance. Its remix featured a handful of iconic rap stars in their early days, including the Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes.
Mack eventually parted ways with Bad Boy Records when releasing his sophomore album (1997’s Operation: Get Down).
According to The Post and Courier of Charleston, SC Craig Mack has been associated with a religious compound near Walterboro, known as the Overcomer Ministry — a controversial group that lives off a self-sustaining farm while they await the second coming of Jesus Christ and has been apart for over the last decade. He was the most well known member of the group, though he chose to not reside on the compound, he remained at his own residence nearby where he could attend sermons and services. He can be seen in a service I found uploaded to YouTube, watch below.
Youtube video posted in 2012.
Now, as so many ask, ponder, Why do some artists leave Bad Boy Records and become religious fanatics? Remember Mason Betha? Yes, he left BBR and became a minister, preacher, prophet or some televangical requesting seeds to be sown financially. While don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with faith and we should all have some. But as the word says, “You will know them by their fruits…” (Matt. 7:16-) It’s just very questionable as to the rumors that circulate surrounding Diddy and his “requirements” to get into or stay in Bad Boy Records.
Religiously, Mack joined the likes of Moses Michael Levi (the Orthodox Jewish gentlemen formerly known as Shyne), Amir Junaid Hawkins (formerly Loon…and also in jail on drug charges), and former Evangelical prosperity pastor Mason Betha (Ma$e who is no longer a pastor but now a more nefarious alter ego named Murda Ma$e). (VSB, The Root)
What is the difference between Craig Mack being in Bad Boy Records vs Overcomer Ministry? I cannot answer, but I believe Mack did in this song “Praise the Lord”, “…if I stayed in NY it’d be another tragedy….”
RIP Craig Mack.