Kris Kross’ Chris Kelly was remembered as a true friend and hip-hop pioneer at a memorial in Atlanta on Thursday. His family and friends gathered to pay their respects to the 34-year-old rapper known as Mac Daddy, who died last week of an apparent drug overdose.
His mother and stepfather, Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, and fellow Kris Kross member Chris Smith entered Jackson Memorial Baptist Church as Kris Kross’ song “Live and Die for Hip Hop” played in the background. The two-hour service featured touching tributes and musical performances from LaTocha and Tamika Scott of Xscape and Keke Wyatt, who sang “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”
Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, wept while viewing her son’s casket and Da Brat fought back tears while attempting to speak to reporters.
Emotions ran high as Kelly’s partner-in-rhyme, Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith, took the podium. He recalled the last time he and Kelly were on stage at J.D.’s So So Def 20th Anniversary concert.
“I just want to say I love you man and I’ma miss you dearly,” said a teary-eyed Smith. “I can say Kris Kross forever, but I know without Chris, my life it ain’t gon’ never be the same. But I just hope our legacy for hip-hop is never forgotten. But I’ma do my part to make sure Chris’ memory lives on.”
J.D. wore his pants backwards in honor of Kelly, who he discovered at the mall when he was just 13. “So much pain today, but I know you in a better place, Rest in Peace my lil homie,” wrote the So So Def mogul.
Photo credit: Curtis Compton/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution