Hip-Hop legends evolve and never die.
Watching the BET Awards 2022 honoring Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs feels so surreal. Sean Combs embodies the phrase ‘can’t stop and won’t stop.’ Celebrating the Bad Boy Entertainment movement is well deserved and enhances the impact of hip-hop culture worldwide.
Witnessing ‘Black Excellence’ on the biggest night in the culture is priceless. Seeing the electricity, vibrations, and supreme talent of Black artists defines the essence of a supreme being. Reminiscing on the history of Bad Boy Records, I can’t help but reflect on its flagship artist Craig Mack.
Birth of a Long Island King
A significant part of Bad Boy Records’ influence came from the rapper Craig Mack, whose 1992 song “Flava in Ya Ear” became one of its most essential rap tracks. Rapping under the birth name was born in the Bronx on May 10, 1970, in the historic city of Long Island. Starting his rap career under the name ‘MC EZ’ as a teenager, his first release was titled ‘Just Rhymin’ in 1988.
In the hip-hop world, Long Island has produced some of the biggest names in the industry. Being home to Rakim, De La Soul, and EPMD. Having formed a deep friendship with EPMD, they invited him on tour as a roadie.
Living on the road with EPMD taught Craig Mack priceless life lessons and increased his love for rap music.
Pursuing his dream as a recording artist wasn’t gaining traction during his early days. Seeing an opportunity to expand his career, he secured a record deal with Bad Boy Records under the guidance of its CEO Sean Combs. Meeting Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs outside of the nightclub Mecca in New York changed both of their lives forever.
Releasing music as Sean Combs’s flagship artist would be a defining moment in Hip-Hop. Furthermore Craig Mack’s sound redefined New York rap music and paved the way for Sean Combs to create a multi-platform entertainment dynasty.
Craig Mack is blessed with ‘God Flow’.
His rapping style and delivery were incomparable. His raps were high-pitched slurs that took on various unusual forms. They shifted from one speed to another like a record changing from one pitch to another.
The initial release, “The Flava In Ya Ear,” was a potent, hard-hitting, and epic rap record infused with a dramatic funk vamp.
“Flava In Ya Ear” showed Craig’s rap skills with a brash loudness and fearless energy. “The Flava In Ya Ear” record made you dance, bob your head, and recite its lyrics in karaoke style.
“Flava In Ya Ear” ranked No.1 in the Billboard rap songs chart, and No.9 in the Hot 100’s rap songs chart upon its release. In fact, the record was named single of the year at the 1995 Source Awards. It also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Solo Performance that year.
Craig Mack’s music, sound, and swag still resonate strongly in hip-hop culture. Every time “Flava In Ya Ear” comes on in the club, people still feel his unique energy and epic rap delivery. Craig Mack created a crucial bridge between Bad Boy Entertainment and hip-hop during the 90s. Long Island gave birth to a ‘KING,’ and we still celebrate his greatness.