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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White Restaurant Manager Accused of Enslaving Mentally Disabled Black Man

And now, for the latest edition of Wow: The Human Race Is Depressing AF. Reports have come out of South Carolina that a white restaurant owner, 52-year-old Bobby Paul Edwards, inhumanely employed and abused a disabled black man; the specific word being used in this case is “enslavement.” Edwards was charged with forced labor and indicted this week by a federal grand jury. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison, per the Post and Courier.

The details of the alleged abuse are particularly stomach-turning. According to prosecutors, Edwards “used force, threats of force, physical restraint and coercion” to push an intellectually disabled man named Christopher Smith to work under barbaric conditions. Smith, who WGCL reports has been diagnosed with delayed cognitive development, would pull 18-hour shifts six days a week—oftentimes without breaks, his attorneys said. They also claimed Smith was hit with a frying pan, burned with grease-covered tongs, and beaten with butcher knives, belt buckles, and fists, all “while being called the n-word repeatedly.” On top of that, Smith was paid less than $3,000 a year.

In 2015, Smith's attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against Edwards, the restaurant where this enslavement and abuse allegedly occurred, J&J Cafeteria, and its owner, Ernest J. Edwards, Bobby Edwards' brother. In addition to possible prison time, Bobby Edwards would also have to pay mandatory restitution to Smith if the suit is won.

Edwards' attorney, Scott Bellamy, says Edwards is looking forward to seeing his name cleared. “The federal government has been looking at this for two years, trying to find something,” Bellamy said. “And he still maintains his innocence.”

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South Carolina Teacher Suspended for Asking Students to Justify the KKK

The same state that proudly flew a Confederate Flag over the state capitol grounds for half a century is making news again thanks to one teacher’s questionable lesson plans.

A fifth grade teacher at Oak Pointe Elementary in Irmo, South Carolina has been put on administrative leave after giving her class a homework assignment with the following question:

“You are there… You are a member of the KKK. Why do you think your treatment of African Americans is justified?”

A Facebook user named Tremain Cooper shared pictures of the homework assignment, eliciting a strong response from those who interpreted the question as the same type of “gotta hear both sides” rhetoric President Donald Trump issued after violence caused by white nationalist protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia in August.

While the possibility exists the teacher was playing devil’s advocate, Cooper didn’t seem particularly convinced.

“How can she [the teacher] ask a 5th grader to justify the actions of the KKK,” Cooper wrote in the caption to his photos, which appear to have since been deleted.

The assignment featured a grid of questions asking students to speculate on the Klu Klux Klan’s “purpose and motivation.” Other questions ask students to reflect on the KKK’s “effects on the opportunities of African Americans” and ask students if newly freed black citizens are satisfied with their new lives.

South Carolina standards for 5th grade require lessons on Reconstruction and discriminatory groups including the KKK,” wrote Lexington-Richland School District 5 director of communication Katrina Goggins in an official release about the teacher’s suspension. “We must teach the standard, but we are taking steps to ensure this particular assignment will never be used again in District Five schools. We understand the seriousness of this matter particularly in light of the events taking place in our country at this time. We want to ensure that our students, parents, staff and community know that we are giving this matter our full attention.” 

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A Last-Minute Guide to Watching the Solar Eclipse If You Forgot It Was Coming

By now, you’ve probably heard someone mention the upcoming solar eclipse. While many of us don't pay much attention to the astronomical developments of our time, this one, my friends, is the eclipse of the century. 

If you’re looking for a quick catch-up or a last-minute refresher, here’s everything you need to know.

What in the world is a solar eclipse?

It’s when the moon passes between the sun and earth, thus blocking part or all of the sun for a time.

How rare is this?

We haven’t been able to see one from the States since Feb. 1979. It’s even rarer for one to be visible from coast to coast. The last time that happened was June 1918. So, yeah—it’s a big deal.

How long will it last?

It will take approximately 90 minutes for the eclipse to cross through the country. No one will see the totality of the eclipse for longer than three minutes.

When is this thing going down?

Monday, beginning at approximately 10:15 a.m. on the West Coast, and ending at approximately 2:50 p.m. on the East Coast.

Will it look the same for all states?

Nope. Most states will experience a partial eclipse. Fourteen states will experience a total eclipse, where the entire sun is blocked by the moon for a time. These states are: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

How do I know what it will look like and what time it will come through my area?

Use this calculator, fam.

Am I definitely going to see it?

Not necessarily. If it’s rainy or cloudy, you could miss out. Sorry.

Anything I should know from a safety perspective?

Some have cautioned drivers to stay off the roads during the eclipse. At the very least, make sure you have your headlights on and, if you are going to be on the roads, follow this advice to be prepared. Don’t look at the sun during the eclipse, even if the moon is partially blocking it, as this can seriously damage your eyes. If you want to watch it, you need to buy some fancy eclipse sunglasses.

Can I watch it online?

Yes you can, my Millennial friend. NASA will have a livestream and even an eclipse pre-show, which begins at noon EST Monday. Follow the stream here.

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Multiple People Injured in Myrtle Beach Shooting Streamed on Facebook Live

Multiple people were injured in a shooting this weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The shooting took place on Ocean Boulevard early Sunday following a “large fight,” WJBF reported. At least seven people were left with non-life-threatening injuries. 

The shooting was reported at around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, Myrtle Beach Police Department Lt. Joey Crosby confirmed to WBTW. An armed security guard shot the suspect before he managed to exit the area in a stolen car. The vehicle was later tracked down by police, at which point the suspect was apprehended. The suspect's identity has not been released. The security guard was treated at the scene for minor injuries. No additional officers were injured.

According to BuzzFeed News, a bystander streamed a portion of the incident on Facebook Live. A video from Bubba Hinson—which had amassed more than 3 million views as of Monday—is being considered a piece of evidence by the Myrtle Beach Police Department.

In a statement to Complex Monday, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed the video had since been marked as disturbing.

“Facebook has long been a place where people share their experiences and raise awareness about important issues,” a Facebook spokesperson told Complex. “Sometimes, those experiences and issues involve violence and graphic images of public interest or concern. In many instances, when people share this type of content, they are condemning it or raising awareness about it. However, when they are shared for sadistic pleasure or to celebrate or glorify violence, we remove them.”

Videos are marked as “disturbing” after context and degree are taken into account. If marked as disturbing, the video is only able to be viewed by users 18 years of age and older and will not autoplay.

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Kodak Black Has Been Released From Jail

Kodak Black has been released from Broward County Jail. Sun Sentinel reporter Brett Clarkson shared an automated message he received regarding Kodak Black's release, noting that the release had not yet been confirmed.

XXL has since confirmed the rapper's release through a representative at the Broward County Sheriff's Office. Complex has reached out to a rep for Black and will update when available.

The Painting Pictures artist was apparently quick to jump on Instagram Live following his release:

Image via Instagram

In May, Kodak Black was sentenced for violating the terms of his house arrest. Black violated his house arrest terms by attending a boxing match, visiting a Miami-Dade strip club, and “other places” without prior authorization of a probation officer. Though he was sentenced to jail time for the violation, he was also given the opportunity to be released within 30 days upon successful completion of a life skills course. Prior to the sentencing, Black fired two of his attorneys.

In a separate case, Kodak Black is accused of sexual battery against a woman in a Florence, South Carolina hotel room following a show. In the arrest warrant, Black (Dieuson Octave) is accused of forcing the victim “onto the bed in the room and then onto the floor of the room.” Black is also accused of biting the woman. A sexual assault kit, the Sun Sentinel reported in November, confirmed the victim's injuries.

Black was removed from Future's Nobody Safe Tour in April.

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World Leaders Blamed Donald Trump for Failure to Reach Climate Change Agreement

Leaders from some of the world's most powerful countries issued a joint statement over the weekend, blaming Donald Trump and the United States for the group's failure to reach an agreement on climate change.

In the declaration released by G7 countries following their yearly summit, the leaders of the other six nations involved in the discussion highlighted Trump's refusal to join them in the fight against climate change:

The United States of America is in the process of reviewing its policies on climate change and on the Paris Agreement and thus is not in a position to join the consensus on these topics. Understanding this process, the Heads of State and of Government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom and the Presidents of the European Council and of the European Commission reaffirm their strong commitment to swiftly implement the Paris Agreement, as previously stated at the Ise-Shima Summit.

Trump, who was the lone holdout on adopting guidelines implemented by the 2015 Paris Agreement, took to Twitter to reaffirm the group's claim he had not yet decided on a policy:

During his campaign preceding the 2016 election, Trump summed up his stance on combating emissions by telling a South Carolina crowd, “I want to use hair spray.” Trump has a long and vocal history of denying global warming, and has repeatedly claimed it is a hoax.

Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany, specifically mentioned how other G7 countries lobbied Trump to keep America in the Paris Agreement, which was implemented to cut back on carbon emissions.

“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” said Merkel. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.”

Belief in climate change has increasingly taken hold among American voters. 70 percent of those polled believe global warming is happening, and 55 percent of people believe that change is man-made. Complex spoke to Bill Nye in April, and he said his wish is for American legislators to respond to the scientific community's consensus on the matter.

“The easiest thing, at first, is to be in denial, whether you’re talking about climate change or having broken something you can’t see,” said Nye. “'Did I just break that?' Yeah, you did. There’s a few seconds of 'No, no, it’s fine. Put it back together.' We want to get legislators to get their worldviews shifted to respect the facts.”

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Kodak Black Sentenced 1 Year for Violating House Arrest

Kodak Black was sentenced 364 days in county jail Thursday for violating the terms of his house arrest, according to on-the-scene journalist Brett Clarkson. If Kodak completes a required life skills course, however, he could be out of jail within 30 days:

Prior to the sentencing, it was reported by Todd Tongen that Kodak had fired two of his attorneys:

New attorney Brad Cohen, ahead of the sentencing, told the court that allegations in police documents against his client were “one-sided” and that he was not a “danger to the community.” According to Clarkson, Cohen added that Kodak was a “good kid” who “treats everyone well.”

Kodak also read a statement to the court: 

The court also heard from additional witnesses, including Kodak's godmother and Michael Kushner from Atlantic Records, the label behind this year's Painting Pictures album. Kushner said Atlantic will hire a full-time “handler” for Kodak.

The Broward County state attorney's office had previously expressed their desire that Kodak, whose real name is Dieuson Octave, serve eight years for the violation. The Sun-Sentinel reported that prosecutor Meredith Hough said last month that the Painting Pictures artist had “essentially squandered” his chances. His Florida Department of Corrections probation officer, however, had instead recommended a 30-day sentence and an additional year of house arrest. In a separate case in South Carolina, Kodak is accused of “sexually attacking” a woman at a Florence hotel in 2016.

Last month, Kodak Black was replaced with ASAP Ferg on Future's Nobody Safe Tour.

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Kodak Black Found Guilty of Violating His House Arrest

The verdict of an alleged February incident that featured frequently in trouble rapper Kodak Black has been reached. On Wednesday, a Florida judge reportedly found him guilty of five counts of violating his house arrest; however, the Sun Sentinel reporter Brett Clarkson tweeted it still unknown if the ruling will extend Kodak's jail time. He will return to court on May 4.

The 19-year-old rapper was accused of punching and kicking a 34-year-old woman at a Miami-Dade strip club called “Club Climaxx.” The Florida Department of Corrections then added that incident to their list of claims that Kodak had violated his parole.

The assault is said to have occurred around 3 a.m. on Feb. 2, while the victim was at her shift as a club bartender. She told police that he “approached her and started acting belligerent.” After she pushed him away he “began to punch her numerous times all over her body and then kicked her, stopping shortly after.”

She reported the altercation to the cops during her shift on Feb. 3, where it was listed as misdemeanor battery.

Kodak is already in jail without bail for violating his house arrest, and is also facing allegations that he sexually assaulted a female fan in South Carolina. In addition to those legal problems, earlier this week it was also reported that Kodak grabbed the wrist of his anger management counselor after she threatened to call 911 due to his refusal to leave her class.

A Miami-Dade police detective said the investigation is still open because the accuser never showed up to the police station to finish her report:


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Kodak Black Is Accused of Assaulting a Woman at Miami Strip Club

Kodak Black is facing another round of legal troubles.

This week, it was revealed the 19-year-old rapper was being accused of assaulting a woman at a Miami-Dade strip club back in February. The Sun Sentinel reports the victim was a 34-year-old employee of Club Climaxx, where Kodak allegedly punched and kicked her.

According to the publication, no formal charges have been filed; however, a police incident report was presented during a court hearing Tuesday. The Florida Department of Corrections has added the assault allegations to its list of claims that Kodak has violated the terms of his probation.  

No formal charges appear to have been filed, but the police report indicates the case is open/pending with a detective assigned to it.

According to the report, the incident took place at 3 a.m. Feb. 2, during the victim’s bartending shift. The woman told police Kodak “approached her and started acting belligerent.” When she pushed Kodak away, “he began to punch her numerous times all over her body and then kicked her, stopping shortly after.”

The report states the woman continued to work that night, but when she started her shift the following night, she alerted the police. The allegation is listed as misdemeanor battery.

Kodak is currently behind bars for previous violations of his house arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court for a final violation hearing April 19, when a judge will decide if he will be released from jail or serve additional time. The rapper, who just released his debut album, is also facing sexual assault charges in South Carolina, where he allegedly attacked a female fan.

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