Craig Mack, the NY rapper who scored a 1994 hit with Flava in Ya Ear, has died of heart failure, aged 46.
DJ Scratch reported the sad news in an Instagram post this week.
His friend and former producer Alvin Toney told the New York Daily News that Mack "was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord".
However, Mack soon parted ways with Bad Boy Records - allegedly because of tense relations with Combs' fellow protégé Notorious BIG - and his subsequent releases failed break the top 40.
Under Puff Daddy (before he became P. Diddy and Diddy), Mack had his first hit song, "Flava in Ya Ear", in the summer of 1994. He did release a second studio album in 1997, but it did not take off as hoped. Mack vacated the limelight and devoted himself to religion, specifically Overcomer Ministry, which is in SC.
"Just A Friend" rapper Biz Markie wrote on IG, "R.I.P TO MY MAIN MAN CRAIG MACK ANOTHER GREAT ONE GONE...." A remix of the song was later released, featuring the Notorious BIG, Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J.
Toney said: "God bless my friend". He just reached out a couple of weeks ago for me to speak on his documentary about his life.
"I can not believe this dude is gone", said DJ Scratch, the stage name for George Spivey. "Nobody got to understand his story. He wasn't scared. He was ready", said the music producer.
He is survived by his wife and two adult children. "I wanted the world to know the talent he had".
Mack left the music industry shortly thereafter and resurfaced in 2012 when he espoused his religious beliefs in a YouTube video upon joining the Overcomer Ministry church in Walterboro.