It’s been 25 years since we saw Chris “Mack Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mack” Smith release what was to become one of the biggest singles of 1992 “Jump” taken from there smash hit album “Totally Krossed Out”. It was produced and largely written by record executive Jermaine Durpi of So So Def Records, who spent almost two years cultivating the album. Kriss Kross were a pair of juvenile rappers discovered by Jermaine Dupri in a mall in Atlanta. Dupri signed the pair when they were just 11 years old and not only produced their debut album but also helped developed their individual personalities and their clothing styles, which consisted of wearing their clothes backwards. The style was unique but somehow managed to start a trend in street fashion, and has herds of teens there age wearing there clothes the same way as the rap duo.
Though their rhymes were safe they were still skilled enough to be initially embraced by the hip-hop community and also sell as huge crossover stars. “Totally Krossed Out” was a massive success for the duo, selling four million copies and reaching number 1 on the Billboard 200 and the top spot on the Hip Hop album charts, where it remained for two and six non consecutive weeks. Kriss Kross released four singles off the album including the popular “Jump” and “Warm It Up”, both of which went number 1, and “I Missed The Bus” and “It’s A Shame”. The album was certified 4 times platinum by RIAA.
“Jump” is one of the biggest singles of it’s era. It claimed the number 1 spot on the Eurochart Hot 100 as well as the top music charts in Australia, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, and Switzerland. It was a Top 10 hit all over Europe. The single went double platinum in the United States and Silver in France (125,000 copies sold) all in 1992. At the time of this release, Kris Kross members Mack Daddy and Daddy Mack were only 12 and 13 years old, and “Jump” was the fasting selling single in fifteen years and the two rose instantly to be among the ranks of child stars in the entertainment industry. Whilst there fame was rising the duo managed to score the opening spot on tour with the king of pop Michael Jackson on the European leg of his Dangerous Tour which lead to a cameo spot on Jackson’s video for “Jam”.
While Kris Kross never repeated the level of Hot 100 or Billboard 200 success that it enjoyed with its debut single and album, the pair remained a rap force through the mid 90’s. 1993’s “Da Bomb” debuted and peaked at No. 2 on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, as did 1996’s “Young, Rich and Dangerous,” the twosome’s last studio release, bringing the act’s career U.S. album sales to 5.2 million, according to SoundScan.
After the peak of there success Kris Kross slowly started to fade. The group wouldn’t reunite until February for the So So Def reunion concert. When they reunited and did “Jump” live for the first time in over a decade, the crowd at Atlanta’s Fox Theater went insane.
There life growing up away from the spotlight didn’t come easy, and in 2013 the group linked back up and announced they were reforming but unfortunately before this could happen member Chris Kelly passed away of a drug overdose of May 2013. According to police reports, Kelly’s mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, said that her son became ill after taking a mixture cocaine and heroin the night before he died. She had reportedly been taking care of him as he tried to recover from drug use, suffering from nausea and passing out.
“For a group who had incredible success at a very young age, it’s hard to ever adapt to normalcy again,” said Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg on the air after news of Kelly’s fatal drug binge broke. “Supposedly after that So So Def concert, he got a check, he was poppin’. He was in the clubs partying hard, getting into that cocaine… it’s hard. It’s a hard adjustment. Nobody ever goes, ‘Listen, this is gonna be over one day.’”
Like most child stars after the peak of their success there was downfall. But no matter what happens over the decades Kriss Kross will always remain the kids who brought “Jump” to the world.
*Image Source: thecomeback.com