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RIP Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly
May 1, 2013 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly, one half of the rap duo Kriss Kross was found dead today at age 34 of what is being investigated as a possible drug overdose.

Kriss Kross rose to fame in the early 90s as a pair of pre-teens with a unique fashion sense (they were famous for wearing their clothes backwards). Their debut album, Totally Krossed Out, was certified 4X platinum by the RIAA, selling over 4 million copies.

Best known for their 1992 hit single Jump, which reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart, Kriss Kross' other hits included Warm It Up and Alright. Their final studio album together, "Young, Rich and Dangerous" was released in 1996. The pair reunited in February of this year for the So So Def reunion show.
posted by The Gooch (67 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
He was older than i thought, but Way too young.
posted by Yowser at 9:57 PM on May 1, 2013


For Kriss Kross, I remember "Warm It Up" being played a lot, but for some reason, the thing that sticks out the most from that era is the Sprite commercial. It must have been on every 5 minutes or so.
posted by klausman at 10:03 PM on May 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh man he was the miggiddy-miggiddy-Mac Daddy! Compared to him I was always the wiggity-wiggity-Wack Daddy.

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(backwards period)
posted by carsonb at 10:04 PM on May 1, 2013 [10 favorites]


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posted by Lynsey at 10:14 PM on May 1, 2013


(they were famous for wearing their clothes backwards)

Ohhhhhh, that Kriss Kross!
posted by P.o.B. at 10:17 PM on May 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I totally remember that entire Sprite commercial. It's the S-to the-P-R-I-T-E can!
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:22 PM on May 1, 2013


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posted by Sphinx at 10:26 PM on May 1, 2013


I usually lie about it, but my actual first CD was Da Bomb, the second Kris Kross album.

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posted by wreckingball at 10:30 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


One minor nit -- it's actually Kris Kross, not Kriss.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 10:36 PM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by brevator at 10:39 PM on May 1, 2013


Kris Kross will make you jump, jump; Chris Cross will make you sit, sit.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:45 PM on May 1, 2013 [13 favorites]


As someone who has always had a hard time going to sleep and waking up on time, Kris Kross's I Missed The Bus really hit home and left a mark on me at a young age. I can still hear the echoes of that anthemic refrain now... "And That Is Something I Will Never Ever Ever Do Again".
posted by sophist at 10:47 PM on May 1, 2013 [8 favorites]


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posted by KillaSeal at 11:22 PM on May 1, 2013


Too late for my "I missed the bus" story.

It's a shame.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:36 PM on May 1, 2013


That was the first and only cassette tape I ever bought.
posted by banished at 11:42 PM on May 1, 2013


.·., .·.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:49 PM on May 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by valdesm at 1:09 AM on May 2, 2013


Jesus. This takes me back to owning a Sony CD Walkman.
posted by phaedon at 1:22 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


.

Also:
posted by tetracycline at 1:31 AM on May 2, 2013


I was going to come in and say exactly what wreckingball already said.

For a certain age group, almost the exact same age as the guys in Kris Kross, they really were a huge deal in the early nineties. Totally Krossed Out came out at the end of seventh grade for me and I wore that tape out. I could never, however, bring myself to wear any backwards clothes.

Does anyone else have a distinct memory of older people being absolutely and totally threatened by the prospect of their kids getting in to the backwards clothes things, or was that just 1992 in suburban Atlanta?
posted by thecjm at 2:05 AM on May 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


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posted by [insert clever name here] at 2:09 AM on May 2, 2013


Does anyone else have a distinct memory of older people being absolutely and totally threatened by the prospect of their kids getting in to the backwards clothes things, or was that just 1992 in suburban Atlanta?

This was also a thing in suburban Chicago 1992.
posted by dogwalker at 2:35 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember the suburban white town I lived in from 6th grade til high school being scared absolutely shitless about literally anything that could be associated with black people, because GANGS! So Kriss Kross was terrifying, apparently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:21 AM on May 2, 2013


Does anyone else have a distinct memory of older people being absolutely and totally threatened by the prospect of their kids getting in to the backwards clothes things, or was that just 1992 in suburban Atlanta?

Well I was a young adult living in Atlanta in 1992 and if you want to conflate the thought of "look at how ridiculous those kids look with their clothes on backwards" with being absolutely and totally threatened, then yes, I do have a distinct memory of it.

The backwards clothes thing is an odd and probably unsuitable thing for this young man to be remembered for, but there you have it.
posted by three blind mice at 3:34 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Faint of Butt at 4:02 AM on May 2, 2013


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posted by sa3z at 4:23 AM on May 2, 2013


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posted by Renoroc at 4:29 AM on May 2, 2013


Too young.

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posted by kimberussell at 4:30 AM on May 2, 2013


Remember those Kris Kross-inspired Looney Tunes t-shirts? They had Bugs and Taz wearing backwards jeans and baseball jerseys, and they were insanely popular at my middle school. My best friend from Philadelphia got me one, and I felt so very white wearing it.

Not many celebrities can say Bugs Bunny imitated them.

I hope the past twenty years were kind to Kelly and Smith. It's got to be hard to experience that level of fame and then fade into '90s punchline territory. Especially at only 14 - old enough to believe you're grown up, but in reality and in retrospect still so far away.

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posted by Metroid Baby at 4:37 AM on May 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


We were told, at a jr. high school assembly, to stop wearing our clothes backwards because of Kris Kross.

I just learned through googling that Jermaine Dupri wrote/produced a number of their songs, including "Jump."

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posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:43 AM on May 2, 2013


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posted by jquinby at 5:03 AM on May 2, 2013


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posted by sektah at 5:09 AM on May 2, 2013


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posted by drezdn at 5:20 AM on May 2, 2013


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I just listened to NPR's Paul Brown say "Chris MacDaddy Kelly" like Mac Daddy was just a normal middle name deserving of no special emphasis or implied quotes. It was very pleasing.
posted by mullacc at 5:27 AM on May 2, 2013 [9 favorites]


In Atlanta, there are rumors that he had cancer. Nothing substantiated... I know they are doing an autopsy. May he rest in peace and thoughts to his friends and family.

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posted by pearlybob at 6:18 AM on May 2, 2013


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posted by The Great Big Mulp at 6:20 AM on May 2, 2013


I'll come to praise the wonders of Kris Kross, not as a mere kid's novelty act, but as the act that opened the charts to the Dirty South. Prior to 1992, rap was east or west. NWA or Public Enemy. Intellectual or Gangsta. In 1992 the year of Totally Crossed Out, the dungeon family was getting together in Rico Wade's basement and plotting world domination. Meanwhile, in Houston, the Screwed up Click was drinking cough syrup and suffocating the beat. Would these small groups have become what they are now had Kris Kross not caused the doleful, eternally seeking eye of the music industry to gaze south of the Mason-Dixon line?

I don't want to say Kris Kross was the REM of Southern Rap and Hip Hop, that's giving them too much credit, but they were definitely the Hootie and the Blowfish. They were two guys who appealed instantly and blasted the door open for the mainstream to find artists like OutKast, Lil John, Three 6 Mafia, Lil Wayne, UGK and countless other artists from far off the media's usual track who were then only neighborhood celebrities DJing at parties or MCing in parking lots.

The Dirty South may have risen without them, but it would have happened much later, and we would be much the poorer for it.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:21 AM on May 2, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm pretty sure The Geto Boys or 2 Live Crew get the auspicious title for a group that truly opened the market for the Dirty South. All Dupri did was bite off a chunk of Dre's style and then make those kids wear some stupid clothes while they repeated the lyrics he came up with. Besides, "Jump" was a Naughty By Nature thing they would do at their concerts all the time and they were not really happy that Dupri stole it, but he likes to borrow. It's unfortunate because everyone knew they were going to be one hit wonders and had to bear the brunt of that as they grew older.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:40 AM on May 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


three blind mice: "The backwards clothes thing is an odd and probably unsuitable thing for this young man to be remembered for, but there you have it."

Actually, it's quite "suitable"... Of course it shouldn't be the *only* thing, but, I saw this interview last night while reading up on what they've been doing with their lives... (Apparently they were going to have a reunion - they met earlier this year to discuss it I guess?)

Anyways check it:
How uncomfortable was it to wear your pants backwards?

I don’t know. Everybody always ask me that. But you have to understand I’ve been wearing my pants backwards for 21 years. Really since ‘91 ‘cause we started a year before we even came out with a record. When I wake up that’s how my pants get put on.

Are you saying that you’ve continued to wear you pants backwards all these years?


Yeah. I’ve worn my pants backwards since 1991; never frontwards.

If you go back to 1991, did people tell you you were crazy for wearing your pants backwards?


Yeah. Yeah. And you know people today are like, “Well, I can’t believe you still wear your pants backwards.” Even if I put on a suit, I put my suit pants on backwards. It’s just a way of life for me.
So yes, suit pants, even. Memorializing the backwards clothes, then, is quite suitable.

I have to give respect for living it, and not just having it be a fad he did as a kid for some record label. My roomie says that's stupid to do that, but I can't help but think it's awesome as fuck.

EDIT: Source Article for above quote
posted by symbioid at 6:42 AM on May 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm about 6 years older than the guys in Kris Kross, so I was in college when the duo rose to fame. At that age, it definitely felt, at least to me, that it would be embarrassing to admit to unironically listening to music put out by a pair of guys who were still in junior high when I should have been listening to more sophisticated "college" rock.

Still, many of their songs were ridiculously addictive. I bought the cassette single of "Alright" and spent much of my time being diligent about removing the tape from my car's cassette player when I knew I would have a passenger. Today, past the age where I'm all that concerned about what others think of my musical taste, a few of their songs still hold a place on my MP3 player.
posted by The Gooch at 6:45 AM on May 2, 2013


Oh no, mullacc, NPR said "Chris McDaddy Kelly" this morning. Which I am still laughing about.

Everytime people start talking about when grunge came out and how it changed their life, I remember my suburban junior high and how we all wore our clothes (not flannel) backwards. Overall I think we were on the right side of history.

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posted by hydrobatidae at 7:18 AM on May 2, 2013


I think Kris Kross was the one of the first pop groups to make me feel like a grumpy old man when they debuted. I was 18 at the time.

So, "props," as the kids say.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:30 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


P.o.B.: Fair point. One could say the Geto Boys were the REM of Southern Hip Hop. I certainly would. I stand by my comparison of KK to Hootie, however.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:31 AM on May 2, 2013


Does anyone else have a distinct memory of older people being absolutely and totally threatened by the prospect of their kids getting in to the backwards clothes things, or was that just 1992 in suburban Atlanta?

I feel like this has to be unprecedented somehow, because this was also true for middle-of-nowhere farmcountry Illinois, which always seemed like it usually didn't even hear of these things until a good 3-5 years later. Our school treated this the same way it treated pogs. Well I mean, more or less... both were 'banned' but if you had pogs they got taken away. If you wore your pants backwards they just made you turn them around. I think there'd be a pretty big kerfluffle if they took those away.

Anyway, despite all odds, a major part of my childhood. Much respect.

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posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:42 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]




You certainly could view them that way, and i don't want to come off as a sourpuss about this because a lot of people have fond memories about this stuff, but I never could get past the fact that Kris Kross and Da Brat were essentially parodies. This was due to the fact that Dupri was "heavily influenced" by the synth heavy stuff Dre had been doing and was obviously an LA sound if not specifically a Dr. Dre sound.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:45 AM on May 2, 2013


I think about Kris Kross every time I'm at a urinal, desperate to pee, and I discover that the fly of my boxers has shifted into some sort of Gordion Knot.

"Those guys have to struggle like this every time," I tell myself.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:56 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


After Elder Monster was born in '92, I joined a gym to try to get myself back into some semblance of shape besides "round". My step-aerobics instructor had a BRUTAL routine for Jump. I usually enjoyed the song, but three days a week, I definitely did NOT.

So sad to hear he had a drug problem. Heroin especially has a powerful grip.

Sleep sweet, Chris.
posted by MissySedai at 7:57 AM on May 2, 2013


Too young. I'm sad about this. Possibly with the added reason that we're the same age.

Also:


I remember the suburban white town I lived in from 6th grade til high school being scared absolutely shitless about literally anything that could be associated with black people, because GANGS! So Kriss Kross was terrifying, apparently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:21 AM on May 2 [+] [!]


Whoa - I grew up in a suburban white town too but Kris Kross was considered pretty tame kid stuff as I remember.
posted by sweetkid at 8:07 AM on May 2, 2013


From the TMZ link:

Donna [his mother] told police she had personally taken Kelly home to recover from the drug use ... just as she had done several times before.

That breaks my heart. Fucking addiction.
posted by something something at 8:13 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some of them try to rhyme but they can't rhyme like this.
posted by chunking express at 8:18 AM on May 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jump, jump.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:37 AM on May 2, 2013


I really loved their comeback song. Sad they won't have any more.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:39 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jump is a fantastic song, really bursting with positive energy.
I like the kid-logic of "Everything is to the back, with a little slack, 'cos inside-out is wiggida wiggida wiggida whack'
=
"I am wearing my clothes backwards because wearing them inside-out would be stupid".
posted by w0mbat at 9:41 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Foosnark at 9:45 AM on May 2, 2013


Poor guy.

Also, when you really think about it, wearing your pants backwards isn't all that dumber than wearing a baseball cap backwards, and half of EVERYONE does that.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:54 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Even if Jermaine Dupri wrote a lot of their material, they still had pretty good flow, from what I could tell (I am not a hip-hop expert). And while "Jump" was their biggest hit, "Warm It Up" is the one that always stuck with me, and I still paraphrase it to this day.

Significant other: "infinitywaltz, can you refill the cats' water bowl?"

Me: "I'm about to! That's what I was born to do!"
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:12 AM on May 2, 2013 [10 favorites]


Does anyone else have a distinct memory of older people being absolutely and totally threatened by the prospect of their kids getting in to the backwards clothes things, or was that just 1992 in suburban Atlanta?

The year of "Jump" I was volunteering at the elementary school where my mom taught in the Northern Virgina DC suburbs. And this was a huge deal. A major part of my job was making sure everyone's pants were on the right way.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:09 AM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Me: "I'm about to! That's what I was born to do!"

Same here. It hasn’t been a couple of days since I said it last, and everyone always knows what you’re referring to. Pretty amazing.
posted by bongo_x at 11:38 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anyone remember Another Bad Creation?
posted by reiichiroh at 11:51 AM on May 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was an incident down at Rehearse Too Much one night between their entourage and the band I was hanging-with/trying-to-convince-they-needed-a-rhythm-guitar-player. I guess it must have been sometime in late '91 or early '92. After local musicians would have heard of Kris Kross but before they were world famous. Nothing major; just your usual musician's quarrel over loading docks at the rehearsal studio.

Still, since all I really knew of them was that thing that happened that night, their backwards pants, and a couple of insufferable hits—combined with the standard jeleous reaction of, "We used to rehearse next to each other and now those guys have a fucking video game"—I kinda carried a grudge for 20 years. To the point that when I heard about this last night the first thing I did was text one of the guys with, "A name has been crossed off in the Book of Grudges."

Now I read about how Kelly suffered with alopecia and everybody thought he had cancer, plus, you know, struggling for relevance after reaching the heights of success, and I'm sorry I ever bore him any ill will.

meiuqeR manretea anod sie enimoD, te xul auteprep taecul sie. tnacseiuqeR ni ecap.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:04 PM on May 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


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Anyone remember Another Bad Creation?

How about Too Bad To Be True?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:14 PM on May 2, 2013


You certainly could view them that way, and i don't want to come off as a sourpuss about this because a lot of people have fond memories about this stuff, but I never could get past the fact that Kris Kross and Da Brat were essentially parodies. This was due to the fact that Dupri was "heavily influenced" by the synth heavy stuff Dre had been doing and was obviously an LA sound if not specifically a Dr. Dre sound.

I feel ya, and I'm a couple years older than Kris Kross, so of course I thought they were bullshit hit-pop back in the day, and I think 'heavily influenced' is charitable enough to verge on euphemistic, but, even so, 'parody' seems a little strong. I'd like to meet in the middle at something like 'derivative' or 'ripoff' (or even 'biter')--these have a more obvious negative connotation than 'heavily influenced,' but lacks the mocking/satiric/etc. quality of 'parody.'
posted by box at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2013


Also:

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posted by box at 8:02 PM on May 2, 2013


Bump, bump, thump.

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posted by buzzman at 12:38 AM on May 3, 2013


I'm probably not shocked people have fond memories of Kris Kross, and I probably shouldn't be shocked that people actually started to wear their clothes backwards considering that sagging jeans still seem to be a think (at least as far as the odd internet news story or amusing meme suggests), but I am shocked that they reunited (but I suppose we must be heading towards the low point of the barrel for 1990s reunions (the lowest point will be someone like Disneyland After Dark).... but to still be wearing his pants backwards after all these years. That's dedication to something I remember thinking at the time was a pretty bloody silly gimmick.
posted by Mezentian at 12:04 AM on May 4, 2013


girlmightlive: "I really loved their comeback song . Sad they won't have any more."

Wow... That's got some pretty Souls of Mischief vibe. I missed out on hearing this. Shame.
posted by symbioid at 1:02 PM on May 4, 2013


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