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Craig Mack, the former Bad Boy emcee who scored one of the label’s early hits with “Flava In Ya Ear” has passed away from heart failure. He was 46 years old.

The news was first reported by DJ Scratch who wrote of the late rapper on Instagram, “He just reached out a couple of weeks ago for me to speak on his documentary about his life. Because Craig was my rodie on tour. He would set up & break down my turntables every night on tour. Rest In Peace Lil Bro.”

Since the news of Mack’s passing, more than a few have offered their condolences.

Man. To be In hip hop culture & live past the age of 50 is a fight to the finish for real. All due respect to #CraigMack. For some reason w exception of a RARE few, like #ProtectYaNeck, #ScenarioRemix —maybe #ShutEmDown remix—-I kinda think #FlavaInYaEar was the hip hop freestylers’ 1st viral instrumental choice. I mean there was always the lunchroom desk & beatboxing. But hip hop really didn’t do straight up instrumentals til like—1988/1989 on 12 inches (lots of DUBS, kinda there to assist mc’s in concert spitting verses w vocal guides?) but I’m just saying the weekend Flava came out I NEVER heard a dj play a joint like 7 times in a row (rare times were #RebelWithoutAPause & #IKnowYouGotSoul) but this was different: 1st of all this single slowed the east coast down DRASTICALLY (1987-1993 east coast was HYPED! on 100bpm-115bpm)—-Flavor was the sound of weed. Not the previous panic crack era music. Like 93 bpms—just perfect to kick a Freestyle: sparse in arrangement & foooonky—-it’s weird that the flagship song of such a commercial radio dominated label was one of the grimiest underground joints ever. I was actually in London at the time when dj 279 premiered that joint at a party. He played that instrumental like 20 mins straight and I saw like 9 simultaneous ciphers happening in the club. Man I was jealous of that beat. I know #Juicy wound up the winner in that race but man we cannot forget one of the greatest hip hop single debuts in the culture. That song was the gym routine mc’s brushed their skills on. All due respect to brother Craig Mack w/o him & his cant lose single who knows what empire #BadBoy woulda become. Rest In Peace Boyeeeeee.

A post shared by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Mack was Bad Boy’s first album artist, releasing Project: Funk Da World a week after The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die. Through the BIG MACK campaign Bad Boy had created, Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear” and “Get Down” had become signature staples of his with the former turning into not only the quintessential lead single but also the birthplace of the Bad Boy remix.

Mack had recently been living in a commune in South Carolina as of last year. He was part of a segment in Sean “Diddy” Combs’ “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” documentary where the Bad Boy impresario spent time attempting to recruit Mack for a full Bad Boy reunion.

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