×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Chris Kelly Dead: Kris Kross Rapper was 34

Duo had hit with 'Jump'

Chris Kelly (right), one half of the multiplatinum 1990s kiddie-rap duo Kris Kross, died in an Atlanta hospital on Wednesday after being discovered unresponsive in his home. He was 34.

Kelly’s cause of death has yet to be determined, though a local police spokesperson speculated that a drug overdose may have been involved.

Along with bandmate Chris Smith, the 13-year-old Kelly was discovered in an Atlanta mall in 1991 by 18-year-old aspiring producer Jermaine Dupri, who went on to shepherd all the duo’s releases. Securing the group a deal with Ruffhouse Records, Dupri fashioned the act’s distinctive backwards clothes image and wrote and produced debut LP “Totally Krossed Out.”

Released in 1992, the record was a smash – first single “Jump” topped the chart for eight straight weeks, and the album eventually went quadruple platinum. Second single “Warm It Up” hit No. 1 on the rap singles chart, and a promo blitz saw the group also launch its own videogame and open for Michael Jackson on his “Dangerous” world tour.

Momentum slowed for 1993 follow-up “Da Bomb,” which topped out at No. 13 on the album chart yet still went platinum. After an inactive spell, the two released a third album, “Young, Rich and Dangerous,” to modest sales in 1996, though single “Tonite’s tha Night” topped the rap singles chart.

After fading from public consciousness, Kelly and Smith reunited this year to perform at a concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dupri’s So So Def label. Dupri paid tribute to Kelly on his website last night, calling him “a son I never had.”

More Music

  • Kanye West Surprises at Kid Cudi

    Kanye West Joins Kid Cudi for Surprise Coachella Set

    After a lackluster weekend one performance, Kid Cudi brought out the big guns — or gun, singular — for his weekend two set. Everyone’s problematic fave Kanye West made a “surprise” appearance at the very start of Cudi’s closing Sahara tent set, riling up the crowd with an opening performance of “Father Stretch My Hands, [...]

  • Brandi Carlile61st Annual Grammy Awards, Show,

    Brandi Carlile Takes Dave Grohl Busking in Seattle (Watch)

    Not all the surprise collaborations happened at Coachella this weekend. Seattle’s foremost male and female musical exports, Brandi Carlile and Dave Grohl, teamed up for a mini-set Saturday afternoon in their hometown, setting up shop as buskers in front of the popular shopping site Pike Place Market. Unlike most of weekend 2 of Coachella, this [...]

  • FX's 'Snowfall' Panel TCA Winter Press

    John Singleton Hospitalized After Suffering Stroke

    UPDATED with statements from John Singleton’s family and FX Networks John Singleton, the Oscar nominated director and writer of “Boyz N’ the Hood,” has suffered a stroke. Sources confirm to Variety that Singleton checked himself into the hospital earlier this week after experiencing pain in his leg. The stroke has been characterized by doctors as [...]

  • Childish Gambino Concert Review

    Chance the Rapper Appears at Childish Gambino's Weekend Two Coachella Set

    Though Childish Gambino’s weekend two Coachella set didn’t vary too much from his electrifying first one, it did feature a new but familiar face. When Gambino popped backstage during a band feature, accompanied by the cameramen that made his set in part like watching a concert film on a massive screen, Grammy winning musician Chance [...]

  • Marketing Guru Sour Matt Brings Cannabis,

    A 4/20 Special: Sour Matt on Bringing Cannabis, Hip-Hop and Branding Together

    Sour Matt might be one of the most mysterious yet well-respected figures in the cannabis industry, as well as a growing force in the music business with which it intersects. With more than 100,000 followers on Instagram alone, he describes himself as “someone who likes to connect the dots, working with other creatives to build [...]

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Rick Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up, like fragrant weeds, in [...]

  • Will SmithNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Will Smith Joins Jaden to Perform 'Icon' at Coachella

    Parents just do understand the importance of Coachella. Jaden Smith was joined in the Sahara tent Friday night by father Will for a performance of “Icon” — as Instagrammed by the proud papa. The footage of Will Smith rapping was shot by Jaden, who turns his smartphone camera around just long enough to photobomb his [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content