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Hip-hop pioneer Craig Mack dead at 46

Bad Boy Entertainment/YouTube

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Hip-hop pioneer Craig Mack passed away Monday in near his home in Walterboro, South Carolina, according to the New York Daily News. The 46-year-old “Flava In Your Ear” star died of heart failure after a long series of health problems.

Iconic for his contributions to Diddy‘s Bad Boy Records, the rapper was rumored to have been signed by the mogul after a chance meetup in a club that ended with Mack absolutely nailing an impromptu freestyle. Before the Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die became a tipping point for the genre and startup record label, Mack was its anchor.

Despite appearing on Bad Boy songs in 2002, Mack largely disappeared from the limelight to pursue a quiet life of faith in South Carolina, where he was active in the Overcomer Ministry church. Friend and longtime producer Alvin Toney was working on a documentary about Mack’s influence and rejection of stardom.

Mack may have been something of a one-hit wonder, but his historic ties to rap royalty made him a familiar presence, and fans were quick to offer his family—he leaves behind a wife and two adult children—warm support.

H/T New York Daily News

Ramon Ramirez

Ramon Ramirez

Ramon Ramirez is the news director, and formerly the Dot's entertainment editor and evening editor. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Grantland, Washington City Paper, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Monitor.