When Jermaine Dupri discovered best friends Chris Kelly and Chris Smith in an Atlanta mall in 1990, a partnership was formed that would spawn three hit albums and several hit songs. By 1992,the duo would be known to the world as Kris Kross (Kelly would also be known as ‘Daddy Mac’ and Smith as “Mac Daddy’) as they released their debut album Totally Krossed Out.
The album included their biggest hit “Jump” and sold four million copies. The video for the hit also showcased the teenagers’ unique style, as they sported their jeans and jerseys backwards. My sister and cousins still reminisce about the ‘Kris Kross Day’ they declared in the neighborhood in which they copied the backwards styling of the young trendsetters. Two more hits from Totally Krossed Out followed “Jump” with success; “Warm It Up” and “I Missed the Bus.” In 1993, Kris Kross released their sophomore album Da Bomb in which the duo opted for a more hardcore look and style. The album sold 1.1 million copies and produced the hit “Alright.” Three years later they dropped their third album Young, Rich & Dangerous which went Gold. Two hits were released; “Tonite’s Tha Nite” and “Live and Die for Hip-Hop.” After the release of Young, Rich & Dangerous the duo split and focused on solo ventures. They reunited in February of this year at the 20th Anniversary concert for So So Def records
Chris Kelly was found unresponsive at his home in Atlanta and later pronounced dead on May 1. He was 34-years old. The news of Kelly’s death sparked a wave of nostalgia for many fans who remembered jumping along with the young rappers and tripping as they tried to walk in their backwards jeans. Although Kelly is now gone and Smith has disappeared from the music scene, their place in music history is set to the background of their baby faces and good, fun music.