chriskelly

We are sad to report that rapper Chris Kelly of the Hip-Hop duo Kris Kross has died at the age of 34.

Discovered by police [after being alerted of a possible problem by Kelly’s cousin] at 4:30pm yesterday (May 1st), the rapper was pronounced dead at 5pm. While there is no official confirmation of the cause of death, Cpl Kay Lester, a spokeswoman for the Fulton County police said, “It appears it may have been a possible drug overdose.” An autopsy is due to be held on Thursday.

Also known as Mac Daddy, Kelly performed alongside Chris Smith (Daddy Mac) as Kris Kross. Discovered by [a then up and coming] producer Jermaine Dupri at the age of 13 in an Atlanta mall, their smash hit “Jump” is a certified Hip-Hop classic. Taken from their multi-platinum selling 1992 debut album Totally Krossed Out, the album stayed at the top of the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for two and six nonconsecutive weeks respectively.

The trendsetting duo also influenced a generation of kids and adults to wear their clothes backwards.

In 1992, the pair landed a spot on Michael Jackson‘s Dangerous world tour, as well as a cameo appearance in his popular “Jam” music video. While their second and third albums didn’t perform quite as well as their debut, they still went platinum and gold respectively.

A joint statement released on Wednesday by So So Def and Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, paid tribute to Chris Kelly.

“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 trend-setting, backward 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.”

Besides the joint statement, So So Def CEO Jermaine Dupri also penned an emotional letter to the fans.

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Tributes from the likes of LL Cool J, actress Alyssa Milano, and Naughty By Nature‘s Treach also came in via Twitter.