ATLANTA: Rapper Chris Kelly, half of the 1990s teen duo Kriss Kross, was found dead Wednesday of a suspected drug overdose. He was 34.
Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, 54, and his uncle, Lamar Williams, 52, told authorities Kelly had a history of drug abuse and experienced similar episodes in the past.
Kriss Kross was introduced to the music world in 1992 by music producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri after he discovered the two at Greenbriar Mall in southwest Atlanta. Kelly performed as “Mac Daddy” alongside Chris Smith, known as “Daddy Mac.”
“To the world Chris was Mac Daddy but to me, he was a son I never had,” Dupri said in a news release Thursday.
The duo wore their clothes backward as a gimmick and won over fans with their raps.
Their first, and by far most successful song, was Jump. The hit, off their multiplatinum 1992 debut album Totally Krossed Out, featured the two trading verses and rapping the refrain, the song’s title. The duo had surprising maturity in their rap delivery. The song, written by Dupri, became a No. 1 smash in the United States and globally.
Their success led to instant fame: They toured with Michael Jackson, appeared on TV shows, and even had their own video game.
The group was never able to match the success of their first song, though they had other hits like Warm It Up and Tonite’s tha Night.