Kris Kross

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Kris Kross
Smith (left) and Kelly in 1996
Smith (left) and Kelly in 1996
Background information
OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Years active
  • 1991–2001
  • 2007–2013
Past members
  • Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly
  • Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith

Kris Kross was an American hip hop duo that consisted of Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith.

Kris Kross was the youngest hip-hop duo to gain success, with gold and platinum albums at 12 and 13 years old. The duo was discovered by Jermaine Dupri in 1991 and hit worldwide status the following year with their smash hit debut single, "Jump", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was certified double platinum as a single. They went on to release three studio albums, with their debut album Totally Krossed Out topping the US Billboard 200, and their following albums, Da Bomb and Young, Rich & Dangerous making it into the Top 20. The duo were also noted for their signature fashion style of wearing their clothes backwards.

Chris Kelly died of a drug overdose on May 1, 2013.[1] He has been referenced on the albums or songs of Eminem,[2] Dr. Dre, 2Pac,[3] Method Man, and many more.[citation needed]


The friendship of Atlanta, Georgia natives, James Christopher Kelly (August 11, 1978 – May 1, 2013)[4][5] and Christopher Smith (born January 10, 1979),[6] began in first grade.[7] The duo was discovered at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta in 1991 by then-19-year-old Jermaine Dupri.

Totally Krossed Out, 1992[edit]

Along with Dupri, the two signed a deal with Ruffhouse Records and recorded their debut album Totally Krossed Out (1992). Entirely produced by Dupri, Totally Krossed Out was released March 31 that year and sold four million copies in the U.S. It included the hit single "Jump", which became the first rap song to top the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks.[8]

The music videos from the album also experienced major success. The video for "Jump", directed by filmmaker Rich Murray, went to No. 1 on MTV and sold over 100,000 copies as a VHS video single. The video for their follow-up single, "Warm It Up", also directed by Murray, won a Billboard video award for "Best New Artist",[citation needed] and got to No. 14 the same year as "Jump".[9] Writes The New York Daily News' Jim Farber: "Together, that was enough to propel the duo's debut album, Totally Krossed Out, to multi-platinum status."[8]

Michael Jackson tour and additional media projects (1992–1998)[edit]

The duo landed a spot on Michael Jackson's 1992 European Dangerous World Tour as well as a cameo appearance on Jackson's music video for his 1992 single "Jam". Additionally, they made appearances in the music videos for Run-D.M.C.'s "Down with the King" (1993) and TLC's "Hat 2 da Back" (1992), and they were featured in an episode of A Different World and as the closing musical act on the May 29, 1992, episode of In Living Color.[10][11][12]

A video game starring the pair, titled Kris Kross: Make My Video, was released in 1992 on the Sega CD system. It consisted of the players editing together the group's music videos for a few of their hit songs—using portions of the original music videos, stock footage, and general video animation effects. Players were prompted before each editing session to make sure to have certain footage compiled into the video. It was ranked 18th on Electronic Gaming Monthly's list of the "20 Worst Games of All Time".[13] Kris Kross made a cameo appearance in Ted Demme's film Who's the Man? (1993), which starred rapper Ed Lover and radio personality Doctor Dré of Yo! MTV Raps fame.[14]

Cameo appearance from Kris Kross in the 1993 movie Who's the Man? from New Line Cinema. Kris Kross were also part of the promotional campaign for the movie in the photo's in their press packs.

Kris Kross were also part of the promotional campaign for Sprite in 1993 of which they recorded an exclusive rap, a promotional photoshoot and commercial for the brand.[15][16][17]

Promotional photoshoot as part of the Sprite campaign which included photoshoots and a TV commercial shot specifically for the brand.

Da Bomb (1993)[edit]

The duo's second album, Da Bomb (1993), was certified platinum and spawned the hits "Alright" featuring Super Cat, "I'm Real", and "Da Bomb" featuring Da Brat, whom Smith had discovered. Most of their songs had been directed at rivals Da Youngstas, Illegal, and Another Bad Creation.[18]

Young, Rich & Dangerous (1996)[edit]

A third album, Young, Rich & Dangerous, was released in early 1996 and was certified gold. It spawned the two hits "Tonite's tha Night" and "Live and Die for Hip Hop".[19]


Both members of Kris Kross went to Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia. Kelly studied mix-engineering, and founded C Connection Records.[20] Smith studied marketing and business management and founded One Life Entertainment, Inc.[21]

Final show[edit]

Kris Kross' last performance was in their hometown at the Fox Theatre for So So Def's 20th Anniversary concert in 2013.[22]

Portrait of Chris Kelly by Chris Smith

Death of Chris Kelly[edit]

On April 29, 2013, Chris Kelly was found unconscious in his Atlanta home and taken to the hospital.[23] Two days later, on May 1, he was pronounced dead around 5 p.m. on the south campus of the Atlanta Medical Center; he was 34 years old. Apparently one day before his death, he filmed himself rapping in his home.[24][25] According to the police report documents, Kelly had been brought home to recover from his drug use, as he had done several times in the past. His uncle told police that Kelly "had an extensive history of drug abuse."[26][27]

The following day, Dupri tweeted a "letter to fans", in which he referred to Kelly as "a son that I never had", and praised Kelly as an artist. Chris Smith wrote, "Chris Kelly was my Best Friend. He was like a brother. I love him and will miss him dearly. Our friendship began as little boys in first grade. We grew up together. It was a blessing to achieve the success, travel the world and entertain Kris Kross fans all around the world with my best friend. It is what we wanted to do and what brought us happiness. I will always cherish the memories of the C-Connection."[28]

Numerous other artists and fans publicly acknowledged Kelly's death, some citing Kris Kross or Kelly as their inspiration or their reason for entering the music industry. On July 1, a toxicology report was released stating that Kelly died from a drug overdose. According to the Fulton County Medical Examiner Office, the toxicology screening showed that Kelly had a mixture of drugs in his system, including heroin and cocaine.[29] Kelly is buried at the Westview Cemetery in Atlanta.[30]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album detail Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
1992 Totally Krossed Out 1 1 7 33 30 31
1993 Da Bomb
  • Second studio album
  • Release date: August 3, 1993
  • Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia Records
13 2
1996 Young, Rich & Dangerous
  • Third studio album
  • Release date: January 9, 1996
  • Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia Records
15 2
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Remix albums[edit]

Year Album details
1996 Best of Kris Kross Remixed '92 '94 '96
  • First remix album
  • Release date: November 26, 1996
  • Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia Records

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details
1998 Gonna Make U Jump
  • First compilation album
  • Release date: April 28, 1998
  • Label: Ruffhouse/Columbia Records


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)

1992 "Jump" 1 1 3 11 5 1 1 1 2 2 Totally Krossed Out
"Warm It Up" 13 21 21 44 16 3 34 34 16
"I Missed the Bus" 63 95 28 57
"It's a Shame" 35 27 19 31
1993 "Alright" (with Super Cat) 19 97 8 47 Da Bomb
"I'm Real" 84
1994 "Da Bomb" (with Da Brat)
1995 "Tonite's tha Night" 12 11 48 Young, Rich, & Dangerous
1996 "Live and Die for Hip Hop" 72 30
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ "Kris Kross rapper Chris Kelly died of drugs overdose". BBC News. July 2, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  2. ^ Eminem – My Name Is, retrieved May 1, 2021
  3. ^ "2Pac's 'Point the Finga' – Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  4. ^ Caramanica, Jon (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly, of Hip-Hop Duo Kris Kross, Dies at 34". The New York Times. Retrieved August 7, 2022.
  5. ^ "Chris Kelly: Rapper (1978–2013)". Archived from the original on August 18, 2019. Retrieved February 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "UPI Almanac for Friday, Jan. 10, 2020". United Press International. January 10, 2020. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020. … rapper Chris Smith in 1979 (age 41)
  7. ^ Betts, Stephen (May 3, 2013). "Kris Kross' Chris Smith Mourns Death of Chris Kelly". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Jim Farber (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly dead at 34: Jermaine Dupri calls Kris Kross rapper 'the son I never had'". New York Daily News.
  9. ^ Billboard. October 17, 1992. p. 79. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  10. ^ "Run DMC ft Pete Rock & CL Smooth "Down With The King" (1993)". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  11. ^ "Season 6, Episode 11 The Original Teacher". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  12. ^ Spradley, Jermaine (May 2, 2013). "Jump, Jump: Kris Kross' Amazing 'In Living Color' Performance". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  13. ^ "EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Games of All Time". Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  14. ^ "Who's the Man? (1993) Full Cast & Crew". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  15. ^ Klingman, Jeff (May 2, 2013). "Was the Kriss Kross Sprite Ad the Catchiest Rap Jingle of All Time?". L Magazine. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  16. ^ "The Best Hip-Hop and R&B Soda Commercials of the 90s The Best Hip-Hop and R&B Soda Commercials of the 90s". Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  17. ^ "'Totally Krossed Out' Forever: Remembering Chris Kelly". May 2, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  18. ^ Perrone, Pierre. "Chris Kelly: Rapper who hit the charts with the '90s duo Kriss Kross". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  19. ^ Huey, Steve (January 9, 1996). "Young, Rich & Dangerous – About Kris Kross". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  20. ^ Grossberg, Josh (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly Death: Kris Kross' Chris Smith Mourns His "Best Friend" and "Brother"". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  21. ^ "ONE LIFE ENTERTAINMENT, INC. Company Information". Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  22. ^ "Kris Kross Is Back for the '90s Reunion You Didn't Even Know You Wanted—But You Do Now, Jump! Jump!". E! Online. January 16, 2013. Retrieved May 3, 2013.
  23. ^ Nudd, Tim (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly's Mother: My Son Was the 'Life of the Party'". People. ...found unresponsive in his home on Monday...
  24. ^ Fleeman, Mike. "Chris Kelly's Death: Kris Kross Member Died of Overdose". People. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  25. ^ Staff (May 1, 2013). "UPDATE: Kris Kross Rapper, Chris 'Mac Daddy' Kelly, Dead At 34 From Suspected Drug Overdose [VIDEO]". NewsOne for Black America.
  26. ^ Fleeman, Mike (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly Used Cocaine and Heroin Before Death". People.
  27. ^ "Chris Kelly". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. May 12, 2013. Archived from the original on January 12, 2022.
  28. ^ Grossberg, Josh (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly Death: Kris Kross' Chris Smith Mourns His 'Best Friend' and 'Brother'". E! News". May 2, 2013.
  29. ^ Duke, Alan (July 3, 2013). "Kris Kross' Chris Kelly died from overdose, autopsy says". CNN.
  30. ^ "Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly". Find A Grave ine. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
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  32. ^ "Kris Kross Album & Song Chart History – R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  33. ^ a b Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  34. ^ " – Austria Top 40". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  35. ^ " – Swedish charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
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  37. ^ a b Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
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  39. ^ a b c "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – September 19, 2010: Kris Kross certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  40. ^ "Kris Kross Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  41. ^ " – Belgian charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  42. ^ "Results – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  43. ^ " – French charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  44. ^ " – Irish charts portal". Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  45. ^ " – New Zealand charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  46. ^ "– Swiss charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  47. ^ " – Swedish charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  48. ^ a b c d "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – September 19, 2010: Kris Kross certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2010.

External links[edit]