Chris Kelly of Kris Kross Dead at 34
The teen hip-hop duo landed a Number One hit in 1992 with ‘Jump’
Chris Kelly, one-half the hip-hop duo Kris Kross that scored a radio hit with “Jump” in the early Nineties, has died, The Associated Press reports. According to a medical examiner, Kelly, 34, was pronounced dead at Atlanta Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon; the cause of death is unconfirmed.
Known as “Mac Daddy,” Kelly and his groupmate, Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith, were discovered by a 19-year-old Jermaine Dupri while performing at an Atlanta shopping mall. The budding hip-hop mogul brought the duo to Ruffhouse Records, which released their debut album, Totally Krossed Out, in 1992, when Kelly and Smith were 13 and 12 years old. As Kris Kross swiftly gained popularity among teens with their radio-friendly rap and trendsetting style (they wore their clothing backwards), the album reached Number One, selling four million copies, and its lead single, “Jump,” topped the singles chart for eight weeks. The group was embraced by older music stars, t0o, appearing in music videos by Michael Jackson, Run-D.M.C. and TLC.
Kris Kross released two more albums in the Nineties to lesser success before Kelly and Smith went their separate ways. In February, the duo reunited to perform their at the 20th anniversary concert for Dupri’s So So Def label.