Thirteen-year-old rappers Chris "Daddy Mack" Smith and Chris "Mack Daddy" Kelly became the pop sensations of 1992 as Kris Kross. The two were discovered at an Atlanta mall in 1991 by then-19-year-old producer Jermaine Dupri, who took them under his wing and came up with the gimmick of having the duo wear all of their clothing backwards, lending more significance to their name. Thanks in part to savvy marketing, "Jump," which sampled the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," became the fastest-selling single in 15 years, staying at number one for eight weeks on the Billboard charts and pushing the sales of their debut album, Totally Krossed Out, past four million. Another gold single followed in "Warm It Up," and Kris Kross toured Europe with Michael Jackson and appeared on innumerable teen-oriented TV shows.
By the time of their follow-up album, 1993's Da Bomb, the boys had hit puberty, and their voices were noticeably deeper; they tried to affect a tougher, more hardcore sound and image, with less success. "Alright" was their third single to go gold or better, but Da Bomb failed to even go platinum by the end of the year. Kris Kross took some time off and returned in 1996 with Young, Rich and Dangerous, which featured the gold-selling rap ballad "Tonite's tha Night." Chris "Mack Daddy" Kelly was pronounced dead on May 1, 2013 at an Atlanta hospital after having been found unresponsive at his Atlanta home; he was 34 years old. ~ Steve Huey