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Saying goodbye to rap's Mack Daddy

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When news broke that Chris ”Mack Daddy” Kelly — who along with partner Chris ”Daddy Mack” Smith made up the beloved hip-hop duo Kris Kross — died on May 1 amid reports that he’d been using heroin and cocaine the night before, a generation of music fans were in shock. Not only because, at 34, Kelly was tragically young for such an end, but also because our strongest memories of him are as the lively teenager behind the ubiquitous 1992 No. 1 hit ”Jump.” The Atlanta native’s death touched a nerve with his peers as well. ”Kris Kross opened for us a few times,” recalls Rozonda ”Chilli” Thomas of TLC via email. ”Being in Atlanta, we supported each other’s music. And ‘Jump’ will always be one of those songs that always gets your energy up. It was all about having fun and enjoying being young.” Thomas, though, remembers Kelly as more than just a fellow musician. ”He was so laid-back — just a cool guy,” she says. ”I spent time with him and his mother, and my heart goes out to her.” Voicing the confusion and sorrow of many, Thomas adds: ”It just isn’t supposed to be that way.”

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