Chris Kelly, one half of the popular ’90s rap duo Kris Kross, died Wednesday after being found unresponsive at his home. He was 34 years old.
Authorities are investigating his death as a possible drug overdose, although the official cause will remain pending until an autopsy is performed.
After paramedics took Kelly to the hospital, a woman who identified herself as his friend told an investigator that he had taken a mixture of heroin and cocaine. She said that she had brought Kelly home “to recover from his drug use,” according to a police report.
Kelly, who was known as “Mac Daddy” and his rapper partner Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith, were discovered by music producer Jermaine Dupri in 1992 in an Atlanta mall. At the time, they were both only 13 years old.
Their biggest hit “Jump” (off their multi platinum debut album “Totally Krossed Out”) spent eight week on top of the Billboard Hot 100. The duo later opened for Michael Jackson on his Dangerous World Tour.
Perhaps the most memorable signature of Kris Kross was their tendency to wear their clothes backwards – a trend that actually caught on, at least for a little bit.
“I’m wearing my clothes to work backwards tomorrow,” said Michael Skolnik, editor in chief of the hip hop site Global Grind.
After releasing three albums together, Kelly and Smith went their separate ways to pursue solo careers. However, they reunited in 2013 to perform at a concert celebrating the anniversary of Durpri’s label, So So Def.
Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, released a statement earlier today:
“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.”
She continued, “Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him.”