Craig Mack Dead at 46

Rapper Craig Mack, who rose to prominence in the early 1990s and helped jumpstart Diddy’s Bad Boy Records label with his 1994 hit, “Flava in Ya Ear,” died of heart failure at a hospital near his home in South Carolina on Monday, according to the New York Daily News. He was 46.

Mack’s longtime friend and producer Alvin Toney, who worked on his 1994 debut album, Project: Funk Da World, confirmed Mack’s death with the Daily News. Toney told the Daily News he met with Mack as recently as last week. He said Mack told him he was dealing with an unspecified illness.

“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 his wife and two adult children.

Craig Mack.
Image via Getty/Raymond Boyd/Contributor

Mack, who hailed from Long Island, first started rapping under the name MC EZ in the late 1980s. But he caught his big break a few years later while working as an assistant to Long Island rap legends EPMD. Mack was introduced to Sean “Puffy” Combs, now known as Diddy, and appeared on the remix to Mary J. Blige’s 1993 hit, “You Don’t Have to Worry.” He was also signed to Diddy’s then-upstart label Bad Boy Records and started working on his debut project, Project: Funk Da World.

Mack released his hit single, “Flava in Ya Ear,” in July 1994. It was the first official release for Bad Boy. He also released a remix of the single, featuring The Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Rampage, and Busta Rhymes. The song received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance at the Grammy Awards in 1995, but it lost out to Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y.”

Despite the success of Mack’s debut album, it would be his first and only release on Bad Boy. He split from the label a few years later before releasing his sophomore project, Operation: Get Down, in 1997. It did not enjoy the same success as his first album, and Mack subsequently stepped out of the spotlight and spent much of the last two decades focused on attending church in South Carolina. Still, Mack is widely credited with helping Diddy get Bad Boy off the ground at its start.

Many of those in the hip-hop community are mourning Mack’s death by taking to social media on Tuesday. Erick Sermon, Funkmaster Flex, and others have shared their reactions to Mack’s passing.


Rest In Peace! Good brother… #CraigMack …. Alvin Toney love my brother…

A post shared by FunkFlex (@funkflex) on Mar 12, 2018 at 11:15pm PDT

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Waka Flocka Says Lil Xan Is Banned From Hip-Hop for 2Pac Comments

About three weeks ago, Lil Xan sat down for a lighthearted interview with Revolt where he ranked a list of people, items, and songs from 1-9 based on “clout” for their appropriately-titled “On Clout 9” segment. 

In the midst of ranking everything from net neutrality (which got a 1 because “I don't even know what that is”) to face tats (8, dinged a point because “too many people are getting them”) to Beethoven (9, “he made beautiful music”), the rapper was asked to rate 2Pac. The late icon merited a 2, and Xan called Pac's music “boring.” You can see for yourself at the 1:45 mark, below.

After criticism from that sit-down and an occasionally contentious—but ultimately fine—interview at Hot 97, Xan announced he was done with interviews because he didn't want “these companies” to use him to “further there shit [sic].”

But Xan's retirement from interviews apparently didn't come quickly enough for Waka Flocka. On Tuesday night, Waka tweeted that Xan was “banned from hip hop” for his Pac slander. “Pac help[ed] me get through childhood!” he explained.

Later, the rapper soon to be called “Diego” responded to Waka's comments. “Lil Xan's not going anywhere,” he said on Instagram. “Sorry. You gotta look at this ugly face for a lot longer, guys.”


A post shared by Clouty Skies ™️ (@cloutyskiez) on Mar 7, 2018 at 6:59am PST

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Fat Joe, Remy Ma, and More Contribute to Tidal’s Hurricane Relief Efforts

Some of hip-hop’s biggest names came together Saturday to help the millions of people suffering in Puerto Rico.

The initiative was launched by Tidal earlier this week, after it announced plans to send 200,000 pounds of supplies to the hurricane-stricken island. The streaming service set up 19 drop-off locations around New York, where people could donate necessities like cases of water, non-perishable food, batteries, new and gently used clothing, hygiene products, diapers, and more.

“Tidal, in partnership with [New York] Governor Andrew Cuomo's Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort, has announced the start of the TIDAL X: Puerto Rico initiative with the charter of a cargo plane that will bring much needed supplies to aid in the recovery and relief in Puerto Rico,” the company wrote in statement.

Artists like Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Jadakiss, and Romeo Santos stopped by the drop-off locations Saturday to help collect, sort, and package the supplies. 

“As the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico grows, our brothers and sisters are desperate for our help. Please join myself, TIDAL, Governor Cuomo, and Ruben Diaz Jr. as we collect and transport much-needed supplies to the island,” Fat Joe said in a video earlier this week. “I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I promise all these items will be delivered by ME personally to Puerto Rico. God bless.”

You can check out photos from the drop-off locations as well as PSA from participating artists below. To learn more about Tidal's relief efforts and how to donate, go to

Hot 97 helped organize an event for the community in The Bronx to bring supplies for Puerto Rico and Mexico as well.


NYC for Puerto Rico @revolttv love

A post shared by NOREAGA/DRINKCHAMPS (@therealnoreaga) on Sep 30, 2017 at 1:26pm PDT


The trucks are filling up! #PuertoRico #Mexico #helppuertorico #helpmexico #helpusvi

A post shared by HOT 97 (@hot97) on Sep 30, 2017 at 12:05pm PDT


@djcamilo x @blendonthewater #PUERTORICO HURRICANE MARIA RELIEF 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

A post shared by HOT 97 (@hot97) on Sep 30, 2017 at 5:28pm PDT

Proceeds from this year’s TIDAL X: BROOKLYN benefit concert will go toward organizations that support recovery from Puerto Rico. The concert will take place Oct. 17, and will include performances by Jay Z, Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, DJ Khaled, and Fifth Harmony.

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Ice-T and Soledad O’Brien to Host Fox’s ‘Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?’

Friday, Fox announced an upcoming two-hour special to explore the deaths of slain rappers 2Pac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. Rapper, author, actor, and director Ice-T will co-host Who Shot Biggie & Tupac? along with Emmy Award-winning journalist and author Soledad O’Brien, as the show takes a deeper look into what amounted to cold cases during at least two police investigations and one FBI probe.

Shakur died on September 13, 1996 after being targeted in a drive-by shooting on the Las Vegas Strip. The Notorious B.I.G.—born Christopher Wallace—was similarly killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. The former friends and collaborators turned rivals remain linked some 20 years after both were killed.

Fox’s choice to cover the two iconic rappers is a curious one, given how Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera and other of Fox’s news pundits have previously criticized hip-hop music and culture.

“This is why I say that Hip Hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years,” Rivera said, during a critique of Kendrick Lamar’s 2015 BET Awards performance.

The special will also reportedly feature what is being billed as the first on-air “reunion” between Lil’ Cease and E.D.I. Mean—one-time protégés of B.I.G. and Shakur as respective members of Junior M.A.F.I.A. and The Outlawz. Doug E. Fresh, Funkmaster Flex and Suge Knight are also set to appear.

Shakur’s case remains unsolved, with conspiracy theories abounding. In April of 2008, the Los Angeles Times retracted a story by Chuck Phillips insinuating Sean Combs orchestrated the 1994 Quad Studios attack on Shakur.

“The Times has since concluded that the FBI reports were fabricated and that some of the other sources relied on—including the person Philips previously believed to be the ‘confidential source’ cited in the FBI reports—do not support major elements of the story,” the retraction read.

Former LAPD captain Kevin McClure shut down a task force investigating B.I.G.’s murder in 2010 noting a lack of results.

“We kept pounding the doors on the same cold leads,” McClure told the Los Angeles Times in March. “The shooter is most likely dead. You cannot ask him who paid him. We don’t know who gave the money.”

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Remy Ma Performs Her Nicki Minaj Diss “Shether” at Summer Jam 2017

Remy Ma said she was all done beefing with Nicki Minaj back in May, but when she got her chance on the Summer Jam stage, she did not feel like holding back. Flanked by some of the leading ladies in hip-hop history, Remy openly disrespected Minaj before performing a rendition of her diss track, “Shether.”

According to reports from within MetLife Stadium, Remy brought out a gang of some of the biggest female MC's in hip-hop history, and yes, she made Minaj the next contestant on that Summer Jam screen.

After paying homage to a strong history of female MC's—and conveniently leaving out Nicki—Remy went right from subtle shade to an outright attack, performing “Shether” for an amped up crowd.

Although plenty of rappers in the past have threatened to air out their business at Summer Jam—Nas planned to hang a dummy meant to look like Jay Z at Summer Jam 2002—few are really willing to take it there. Remy using her performance to put Nicki on blast shows both how much animosity she holds for Minaj and her understanding of the significance of the Summer Jam stage and screen in hip-hop.

Minaj re-sparked the beef when she fired shots at the Bronx native on “Realize,” which may have been enough motivation for Remy to open up this wound again. We'll have to see if this escalates further from here, because you can't back down from a call-out at Summer Jam.

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Aspire to Inspire 035: Kate Ross

Episode 035 - Kate Ross

(Original Photo by: Undrgrnd Sound)

Kate Ross is someone that exists via URL. An interview via Google Hangout hardly constitutes an IRL (in real life) friendship. Through interweb interactions, it has become clear that she is more mild mannered and soft spoken than one might speculate. To update an old adage about a book and its cover, Internet profiles and even web-based interactions are mere covers, not by which to judge the devilish details dictated within the pages, especially not the story of one, the one, Kate Ross.

She is humble and sweet, seemingly unaware of her superior admirability, and the air of respect that surrounds her bright, amazing aura. One cool ass cat amongst an industry of big dogs…she holds her own and does what she wants. That is the type of stuff we like, and the reason she is a quintessential candidate for this Aspire to Inspire feature.

Here is her story.

Once upon a time, a Mathematics and Economics double major (graduated from Vassar College in New York) obtained gainful employment as a finance director making six figures.  While she was miserable, financial stability was something that was important to her from a very early age, especially growing up in a society where individuals are defined by income, job title, what type of car he/she drives, and other materialistic things. Kate became super successful in that superficial business world, and her background in business helped shape the life she now knows.

Plot twist. The economy went to shit and she lost her job, which led down an interesting path: nonprofit mission work that paid less money but still privately funded and somewhat steady work, until it too faltered, then a job on the hill (aka our nation’s capital – Washington D.C.) lobbying for healthcare where she quickly realized the unlikelihood of making a difference. It is quite obvious even now how that would have been frustrating with such little impact in the years since that position. Progress in this country has been so slow and unsteady.

Kate moved on to odd jobs doing freelance work and dog walking…anything to pay her bills.

One day a friend, the owner of a construction company, needed some help with the business side of his endeavor. Then another friend asked for some help with his Audio Visual company. Her days as MC Lab Rat long gone, Kate had no idea she was stumbling into the offices of Adam Weiner, who runs Innovative Transducer Implementation Audio (or ITI Audio), the company that designed and installed the sound system for a famed D.C. venue called U Street Music Hall. U Hall is a basement club on U Street that holds a couple hundred people. U Street, a cobblestone road was a haven for jazz music many moons ago. Adam liked Kate’s work and asked her to help some artist friends with their finances.

This was Kate Ross’s entry into the music industry.

“I remember walking into their office and there was all of this artist memorabilia everywhere and I was like oh my god I love ______ [artist]. Do you like him too? Adam said, ‘He is a friend of mine and he needs help too.’”

It wasn’t much money compared to the finance world, but she was around passionate people whom enjoyed her company when she wasn’t “Corporate Kate.” In fact, she no longer had to be Corporate Kate. Working doing the stuff you love is the best of both worlds. Even if it takes a little pay cut to be happy. There are always tradeoffs in life; the universe is about give and take.

For Kate Ross, this opportunity seemed to be one that brought balance and meaning to her life that she didn’t even know was missing. It is like Kate landed on this dream by circumstance. Growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia, it was about becoming financially stable. Playing guitar and rapping in college were just things that made her happy. Hindsight might dictate that this was her destiny all along though; she was always connected to music. It made her happy, got her through difficult times, and she always leaned on it. DJ Paul Nice, a mentor of Kate’s, helped her to secure an internship with Triple 5 Soul the summer after her junior year. This was in the early days of dance music, when DJ Diplodocus (now known as Diplo) was throwing basement parties for Hollertronix mixtape releases with LowBudget, Y(o)ung Kate Ross was working the door watching Diplo and Mike Lowbeezy hit decks hard with crates and samples and scratches for no more than 150 people, but never thought it was a viable career option. Even without her financially stable mindset, who would have considered involvement in something like this a viable career? You’d have to be crazy to choose this life, right?

Even though she was passionate about music, producing it was not one of her dreams.  At the suggestion of Adam Weiner, Kate started Ross Business Management (RBM), which focused on handling finances for artists and other creative businesses. The goal has always been about sustainability, a testament to Kate’s sensibility even in this industry where sustainability is rather difficult.

About two years into RBM, artists began asking for more help outside of business management; they wanted her to completely manage them. This came as a shock to her, humble as she is wise, because managing artists was unchartered territory.  Artist management is an unforgiving and difficult terrain, land mines and booby traps (pun intended) hidden in the friendliest of places.

Around the same time, her good friend Paige Plissner had approached her about starting a record label. She knew so many artists and wanted to help them succeed by helping them mold/maintain their image/brand. The first artist they worked with was Rex Riot, and then they just kind of turned into a management company – CUFF MGMT.  About a year before CUFF MGMT launched, Jan Rosenfeld, Jackson Kachor, and Plissner formed and hosted CUFF Radio.  The show only lasted one year as a result of the shortage of bandwidth in D.C. to support the show’s streaming needs. Additionally, the label was put on hold indefinitely as a result of family emergencies for Paige, which forced her to focus the majority of her time on family and CUFF MGMT.

As with any startup, you do what you’ve got to do. Paige and Kate were working jobs to pay bills and dedicating everything they had to making CUFF MGMT a success. For them, there isn’t so much a secret formula, as it is just hard work and dedication that finally paid off. Kate mentioned nightly PB&J for dinner, as she has little time to spare. None of them know what vacation even means, but they are growing. They have integrity. They believe in what they are doing, and frankly so do I.

It’s not all bad either. Kate has started spending a lot more of her time in Los Angeles, which comes with a pretty view and warm weather. She hob knobs with some of the industry’s finest, snaps snazzy photos at upscale events, and works with some of the finest artists and people probably in existence.

CUFF MGMT is a boutique artist management company. They want to stay small. According to Kate, “Paige and I jointly own and operate CUFF MGMT.  We have three managers on our team – Paige Plissner, Brice Sopher (aka Walmer Convenience), and myself. We’re supported by and work closely with Brent Tactic, a booking agent at World War Trading (manages Goon Bags as well), and Josh Messer, who is currently our in-house PR guy.  Messer recently teamed up with Michele D’Amaro (formerly of Magnum PR) to launch One Elle PR. Our current roster of amazing guys includes BeazyTymes, Debroka, Goon Bags, Happy Colors, Infuze, Rex Riot, Tyku, and Woolymammoth.”

The staff serves as both individual managers to artists assigned, but the whole management team supports their every effort. This is one of the tightest knit teams in the industry. They have enlisted only the utmost elite, even in outsourcing some things outside their purview of expertise. For example, they work closely with Nappy (Michael Abernathy), a guru and mentor to only the most deserving. He introduced BeazyTymes, Happy Colors, Tyku, and Woolymammoth to CUFF MGMT and now serves as creative input, bringing them talent he believes in.  He brings in artists he thinks would benefit from CUFF MGMT’s impeccable, individualized services. Those who don’t know Nappy should know at the very least that he is a well respected figure in this industry, and his support for CUFF MGMT speaks volumes about their outfit.

It would be a misnomer to say that Kate Ross is any kind of boss at CUFF MGMT, even though she seems to be something of a stronghold; the adhesive keeping this operation running steady. She is the essence of this group, but each member is this same caliber of being. They are homies cohesively working for each other and their artists. You might even go so far as to say they are renegades, fighting for equality against this industry that is predominantly run by white males.

This world may not be ready for them.  It may not be ready for the intelligent, talented women also working twice as hard to prove themselves to a majority of people not even listening. It doesn’t mean that Kate Ross or CUFF MGMT won’t continue to rep and protect their artists. It is just a microcosm of some very large issues too taboo to discuss.

The human element, this idea of connectivity comes into play in a big way with CUFF MGMT. In this industry, there are a lot of people who try to take advantage of others. We hear this story over and over again and we all see our share of shady business practices. There are companies that view their artists as disposable, which ignores any ounce of human compassion or respect. CUFF MGMT however, treats each of their clients equally and with respect. For instance, some of their artists want to finish college so they encourage them to do so and make it a priority. They protect their artists and look out for each other.

(courtesy of Kate's Facebook page) BLAST FROM THE PAST! Kate aka MC Lab Rat (circa 2005) hanging with none other than SLICK RICK THE RULER at Hip Hop 101 Throwback Jam! LA DI DA DI!

(courtesy of Kate’s Facebook page) BLAST FROM THE PAST! Kate aka MC Lab Rat (circa 2005) hanging with none other than SLICK RICK THE RULER at Hip Hop 101 Throwback Jam! LA DI DA DI!

For Kate, the inspiration is more of a que sera sera (whatever will be, will be) mentality. A series of events that began in tragedy, losing her job and the identity she thought defined her, only to realize MC Lab Rat and the classical guitar were calling her home all along. This may have been her destiny since day one. No one really knows what he/she is meant for until they figure it out. We should all take that lesson, and many more from the woman who has become one of my biggest inspirations.

It is her integrity and strong sense of identity that shines through humility and grace. In this marvelous woman, hard work and dedication literally materialize before our very eyes. Kate Ross is an unbelievably amazing and inspiring woman, with all of her rock star parts. From her head down to her toes, she’s got the look. The one that inspired a super fierce tune, that pretty much epitomizes Kate. And she doesn’t even know it.

Thing is, Kate is just scratching the surface, the cover of some chic matte cover novella about a girl in a black brimmed hat, a brilliant business mogul who has found a way to utilize her skills of uber practicality in the music industry to help make dreams come true.

Ross Business Management

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This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Aspire to Inspire 035: Kate Ross

Big Sean feat. Ellie Goulding-You Don’t Know (Gazzo Remix)

Listen here: Big Sean feat. Ellie Goulding-You Don’t Know (Gazzo Remix)

New Jersey based DJ and Producer Gazzo put out a solid remix of Big Sean and Ellie Goulding‘s ‘You Don’t Know’ and it certainly holds up to the House standard. This remix is a great fit for the song and features a pretty cool breakdown near the end. It’s always nice to hear a melding of Hip-Hop and Dance, in this case it produced an interesting result that I’m sure many fans of House music will love. ‘You Don’t Know (Gazzo Remix)’ is a free download on Gazzo‘s Facebook page and be sure to check out his Soundcloud if you like what he’s got to offer.

 Big Sean feat. Ellie Goulding You Dont Know (Gazzo Remix)

Tommy Trash – ‘F#$%WIND’ (Green Lantern Remix)

Listen here: Tommy Trash – ‘F#$%WIND’ (Green Lantern Remix)

Green Lantern finished 2013 with a bang, touring the country, releasing a ton of materiel, and absolutely establishing himself a household name in Trap music. With the new year and the road to Ultra in mind the Hip Hop guru gives us a caked up remix of Tommy Trash’s F#$%WIND. The certified banger shows Green Lantern’s diverse skill with the beats and is sure to make any club lose their mind.

Grab the free download below!

130804 Hardfest Green Lantern 600x399 Tommy Trash   F#$%WIND (Green Lantern Remix)

Krooked Drivers Fuse Hip Hop and Funk in New Remix ‘Where the Hood At’

Listen here: Krooked Drivers Fuse Hip Hop and Funk in New Remix ‘Where the Hood At’

Sometimes artists get on a roll and just start busting out with quality tracks and I’m happy to report Krooked Drivers is certainly getting down with it. Their recent remix of Albert King and DMX’s “Where The Hood At” combines the genius of hip-hop lyrical hooks with funky electronic glitchy awesomeness. Of particular mention in my opinion is their inclusion of full vocal verses as opposed to chopping up the verses, which really gives it a feel of a fusion rather than a reduction, which some artists are prone to do. Beginning the track with some high flying flute samples before busting down into a bluesy guitar and vocal track, the song is well-rounded from beginning to end. I particularly love the echo and answer effect throughout the track and would highly recommend you give it a nice long listen. As of the writing of this sentence, I’ve listened to the song three times in a row and I’m still grinning and bouncing my head. The track is also available for free download on their Soundcloud page which can be reached through the widget below. If you skip this track, you’re screwing up.

Diddy Hits Studio With Rick Ross To Mix Mastermind Album

The release date for Rick RossMastermind album was pushed to 2014, giving Diddy time to work his magic on the project (which is one of MTV News’ Most Anticipated Hip-Hop Albums of 2014). Rozay revealed that the music mogul will actually be mixing his LP.

He shared the news on Twitter during a studio session early Friday morning (January 10).

Ross and Diddy have been close friends for some time, with the Bad Boy CEO even appearing on the Miami rapper’s Rich Forever mixtape, and now they’re furthering their working relationship.

Rozay recently dropped the Jay Z-featuring single “The Devil is A Lie,” and he probably has a few additional surprises in store.