Rapper Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly died Wednesday afternoon after being found unresponsive in his Atlanta area home.
Kelly, 34, was part of the 1990s duo Kris Kross, known for their backward clothes and hit song “Jump” from the group’s 1992 debut album.
Kelly was found unresponsive and transported to Atlanta Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, a spokeswoman for the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Officer told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Kelly’s death is being investigated as a drug overdose, Fulton County police Cpl. Kay Lester told The AJC. An autopsy conducted Thursday morning found no signs of foul play or trauma, the medical examiner’s office said. Toxicology results will not be known for several weeks.
An Atlanta native, Kelly and the other half of the duo, Chris Smith, were 13-year-olds when they were discovered at Greenbriar Mall in 1991 by now-famous entertainer and producer Jermaine Dupri. Kris Kross was one of the first acts Dupri signed to his So So Def Records label, and in February, the duo was among many to perform at an anniversary show at the Fox.
This time, neither Chris had their clothes on backward. The duo opened the show, which featured numerous other entertainers.
In a statement released early Thursday, Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, and the So So Def Family said the singer’s legacy will live on through his music. The statement read: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. 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. 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.”
Though the catchy “Jump” was the most famous song for Kris Kross, the pair also recorded the “Rugrats Rap” for Nickelodeon. “Jump” was a track on the group’s debut album, “Totally Krossed Out.” Two other singles, “Warm it up” and “I missed the bus,” were also hits from the album.
Kris Kross released two more albums, but neither were as popular as the first.