Craig Mack, one of the earliest artists on P. Diddy's Bad Boy Records label is dead at the age of 46. Mack's cause of death has been confirmed as heart failure and reportedly he passed away in a hospital near his South Carolina home on Monday.
Fans of 1990s hip-hop will best remember Mack for his popular songs such as 1994's "Flava in Ya Ear" and "Get Down." Growing up in Suffolk County, New York, Mack wanted to emulate New York rappers of the time such as LL Cool J and Run DMC. The then-aspiring rapper started his career in the late 1980s under the name MC EZ, before later deciding to perform under his real name.
Mack first encountered P. Diddy in the early 1990s — who at the time was still known as "Puffy" — at a Manhattan night club and impressed the up-and-coming producer with his freestyling skills.
While Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear" produced some success for the emerging rapper, after it was remixed and featured one of the first appearances of Notorious B.I.G. and rapper Busta Rhymes, Mack's prominence on Bad Boy was overshadowed.
Fans and colleagues of Craig Mack offered their condolences on social media upon hearing of the rapper's passing.
Mack left Bad Boy Records in 1995, but continued mainstream success eluded him in his later efforts, though he did appear in a 2002 music video for Diddy's "I Need a Girl Part 1." Mack's last studio album came in 2017 with the independently released album The Mack World Sessions.
He is survived by his wife and two adult children.