Upon its release Return of the Mack received mixed reviews from music critics, who praised Morrison's strong voice and entertaining songs, but described the album as having weak production. The album spent thirty-eight weeks on the UK Albums Chart where it debuted and peaked at number four, and has since been certified platinum by BPI. On the US Billboard 200 chart, the album reached a peak of seventy-six, however, it would eventually be certified platinum by RIAA due to the success of the lead single there, "Return of the Mack". The album has since sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
The album would make Morrison the first artist in British pop history to have five top 10 singles from a debut album to chart on the UK Singles Chart. These included "Let's Get Down", "Return of the Mack", "Crazy (Remix)", "Trippin'", "Horny" and "Moan and Groan". The first single "Crazy" became a top 20 hit in the UK; a remix was also released, which peaked at number six in the UK. When "Return of the Mack" was released in spring 1996, it would become an international hit, spending two weeks at number one on the UK Singles Chart and one week at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song was listed at #8 on the Billboard year-end chart for 1997 and was certified platinum by the RIAA. Morrison became the first black male solo artist to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart in the 1990s.
In 1997, he received four Brit Awards nominations, a Mercury Prize nomination, an MTV Europe Music Awards nomination, and five Music of Black Origin Awards (MOBO) nominations. He would go onto win Best R&B song in the 1996 MOBO Awards for "Return of the Mack".
The album was released on 22 April 1996 (1996-04-22) through his own record label, Mack Life Records. The album was largely self-produced by Morrison, and was recorded over a two-year period. The album's release was preceded by the release of three singles.
The debut song "Crazy" became a top 20 hit in the UK. It was later featured in the 1997 film Speed 2: Cruise Control and appeared on the film's soundtrack album. The second single was "Let's Get Down".
Return of the Mack received mixed reviews from music critics. Entertainment Weekly writer Matt Diehl wrote "its title, "Return of the Mack" sounds like another rap tale of gangsta paradise; instead, Mark Morrison comes off more like a funked-up Seal, promising revenge to a deceitful lover in a warbly croon." He goes onto add, "the end result is an odd but infectious new-jack-swing variation on Hey Joe, buoyed by bubbly beats and the insistent title refrain."