XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Jan. 9, 1996: On this day in 1996, Kris Kross released Young, Rich & Dangerous, their third and final album together. The project arrived four years after the Atlanta rap duo of Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith burst onto the scene and dropped their game-changing 1992 debut album, Totally Krossed Out. In 1993, they delivered their second effort, the platinum-seller Da Bomb.
Produced entirely by Jermaine Dupri, Young, Rich & Dangerous featured Kelly and Smith rapping more adult-oriented themes of money, fame and women. The rap tandem released two singles from the set: the club banger “Tonight’s tha Night” and their braggadocios track, “Live and Die for Hip-Hop” featuring the late Aaliyah, Da Brat, JD and Mr. Black.
The gold-selling single “Tonite’s tha Night” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart for the week of Jan. 20, 1996, and ruled the top spot for five consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, the album debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and peaked at No. 2 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for the week of Jan. 26, 1996. Two months later, on March 4, 1996, Young, Rich & Dangerous reached gold status by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for 500,000 copies sold in the U.S.
Although Young, Rich & Dangerous was moderately successful, it didn’t match the colossal sales of Kris Kross’ previous efforts. Subsequently, Kelly and Smith went their separate ways after its release. But in February of 2013, Kris Kross reunited for a performance at the 20th anniversary So So Def concert in Atlanta.
Sadly, it would be their last performance together. On April 29, 2013, Kelly was found unconscious in his Atlanta home and was rushed to a local hospital. Two days later, on May 1, he was pronounced dead at the Atlanta Medical Center. The Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office would later confirm that Kelly died of a drug overdose. He was 34 years old.
Although Chris Kelly is gone, Kris Kross’ musical legacy that made millions of kids “Jump” while wearing their clothes backwards will be forever etched in hip-hop history.
Watch Kris Kross’ Music Videos for “Tonite’s tha Night” and “Live & Die For Hip Hop” Below
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