As previously reported, Craig Mack died Monday (March 12) at age 46 of heart failure in South Carolina. The rapper made Billboard chart inroads in the 1990s as a breakout star on Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment label, specifically thanks to the smash hit “Flava in Ya Ear.”
“Ear,” released in 1994, spent a then-record 14 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot Rap Songs chart from Sept. 10 through Dec. 17 that year. Though it’s since lost that longevity record, “Ear” remains one of just 13 leaders on Hot Rap Songs to last at least 14 weeks in the penthouse.
The success of “Ear,” which also hit No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, helped Mack’s debut album, Project Funk da World peak at No. 6 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart dated Oct. 8, 1994. Project also had a top 40-showing on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, topping out at No. 21. The album produced a second hit in “Get Down,” which climbed to the runner-up spot on Hot Rap Songs in January 1995.
In 1997, Mack released his sophomore LP, Operation: Get Down, which peaked at No. 17 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. That year, the rapper also inked three more entries to his resume on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. He was a featured act on both Veronica’s “No One But You,” from the soundtrack to the Halle Berry-vehicle BAPS (No. 43), and Sounds of Blackness’ “Spirit” (No. 29), while his own “What I Need” parked at No. 55.
Mack has sold 551,000 albums and 1.5 million singles (combining physical and digital totals) and clocked 42.9 million on-demand streams in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music.