*Seven years ago (05-01-13), Chris Kelly of Kris Kross was pronounced dead of a drug overdose at an Atlanta hospital. He was found unconscious two days earlier in his Atlanta home.
The 34-year-old found fame as “Mac Daddy” with his rap partner and friend since the first grade, Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith. Jermaine Dupri was 19 when he discovered the Atlanta natives at the Greenbriar Mall in 1991 and thought they had the look to become rap superstars.
Wearing their clothing backwards to stand out – and to counter their Michael Bivins-created rival Another Bad Creation (who wore their clothing inside-out) – Kris Kross was signed to Ruffhouse Records in ’92 and their debut album was released the following year with the hit debut single, “Jump.”
“Jump” topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was certified double platinum. It was the first rap song to have ever achieved so long a run at the top.
The video for their follow-up single, “Warm It Up”, won a Billboard video award for “Best New Artist.”
Kris Kross – Warm It Up
The success of their debut album led to a multitude of other high-profile projects in ’92, including a spot on the European leg of Michael Jackson’s Dangerous World Tour.
They also appeared with Jackson and Michael Jordan in the King of Pop’s 1992 single “Jam.”
Michael Jackson – Jam
They also popped up in the beginning of TLC’s “Hat 2 da Back” video in ’92, and performed as the closing musical act on the May 29, 1992 episode of “In Living Color.”
Hat 2 Da Back – TLC
Kris Kross – Jump – Live Performance Living Color
Their following albums, “Da Bomb” in 1993 (platinum) and “Young, Rich & Dangerous” in 1996 (gold), both cracked the Top 20.
“Da Bomb’s” title track and video introduced fellow So So Def artist Da Brat in 1993.
Kris Kross – Da Bomb (1993)
Kris Kross – Alright (1993)
Kris Kross – Tonite’s tha Night (1996)
Kris Kross would perform together for the last time in their hometown at the Fox Theatre for So So Def’s 20th Anniversary concert in 2013.
Kris Kross – So So Def’s 20th Anniversary concert
Kelly’s mother told police that her son became sick after taking cocaine and heroin on the night before his death. A toxicology report would later confirm that the two drugs were indeed in his system.
Hours before his death, video was taken of Kelly high on drugs and slurring his way through a rap about a room full of dead bodies.
Chris Kelly — Tragic LAST VIDEO … Drugged Out Rap Session | TMZ
Paramedics found Kelly unresponsive on a living room couch at his Atlanta home and attempted to resuscitate him. He was rushed to the south campus of Atlanta Medical Center and pronounced dead at around 5 p.m.
The following day, Dupri referred to Kelly in a tweet as “a son that I never had” and spoke about him to Hip Hollywood.
Jermaine Dupri Talks Impact Of Kris Kross – HipHollywood.com
His lifelong friend and partner in rhyme, Chris Smith, spoke at his funeral before he was laid to rest on May 9, 2013.