Think of Bad Boy Records and you automatically think of B.I.G or Puffy, maybe the Lox. But before “Ready to Die” dropped, the first artist to be released on Bad Boy Records was Craig Mack. His album Project Funk Da World, and his undisputed legendary singles “Flava in Ya Ear”, and “Get Down”, are integral parts of the golden age of hip hop. Though he is absence in the flesh, there is no question that his presence on the mic is going to leave an enduring presence.
There was a time when Flavor in Your Ear was inescapable. During a time period where Black music still wasn’t really played on MTV, the “Flavor” video played a couple of times a day. That’s how massive of a hit it was. And it wasn’t just cause of the production, which was amazing, or the video itself, which was iconic, it was Mack. Whether on the West or East Coast hardcore hip hop had established its dominance. Craig Mack didn’t try to be hardcore, he was himself.
The first 30 seconds of Flavor in Your Ear established Mack as something very different.
“Just… like… uniblab robotic kickin’ flab
My flavor be the badder, chitter chatter
Madder than the mad hatter
I bet you my shit come out fatter
Got the data to turn your body into antimatter.”
Mack was special because he didn’t attempt to be something else, didn’t try to copy someone else’s style. The greatest example of this is the “Flava In Ya Ear remix.”
Most MCs if they are honest would have been fearful of doing a song with B.I.G, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes. B.I.G. delivered maybe his greatest performance with the classic line “don’t be mad, UPS is hiring”. LL was as consistent as Jordan, while Busta….let’s just say after this verse , everyone was waiting for his first album. And in the midst of all of this was Craig Mack. While I’m not going to lie and say that Mack outshined them all, on a song with three legendary MC’s, and a outstanding verse from Rampage, he held his own.
While his later career from a commercial sales standpoint wasn’t as successful as his initial project, it doesn’t matter. Craig Mack is a golden age hip hop legend, nothing is ever going to change that. Heaven just got an MC ready to “kick that old robotic, futuristic, George Jetson, crazy joint”.
Rest In Peace Mack.