Craig Mack, the Long Island rapper hailed as the starting foundation of Diddy’s Bad Boy Entertainment, has died at age 46, his producer confirmed to the Daily News. Mack, who launched to hip-hop acclaim with the platinum summer hit “Flava in Ya Ear” in 1994, died of heart failure at a hospital near his Walterboro, S.C., home Monday.
“God bless my friend. He was a good friend of mine,” said Alvin Toney, who produced Mack’s debut album “Project: Funk Da World” and his “Get Down Remix.”
Toney saw his dear friend one final time last week. He visited the former emcee at the Overcomer Ministry church he attends in Walterboro to film a documentary about the retired rhymer, and his decision to pass on fame for a life of deep religious conviction.
“Nobody got to understand his story,” Toney said. “I wanted the world to know the talent he had. It was something I wanted people to enjoy, but it was cut short because he was very religious and wanted to go to church.”
Tony said Mack then told him that he had been ill for some time.
“He was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord,” Toney said. “He was prepared to do that. He wasn’t scared. He was ready.”
Mack is survived by a wife and two children, both adults, Toney said. As a boy, the Suffolk County native dreamed of making it big like LL Cool J and Run DMC, according to a New York Times profile of Mack. Mack’s short-lived career shined bright with the help of Diddy, then known under his first pseudonym Puff Daddy.