Rapper and Diddy protege Craig Mack dies at 46

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Craig is best known for his 1994 hit, "Flava in Ya Ear", and he was signed to Diddy's Bad Boy Entertainment label, like so many great artists of his time.

"Rest In Peace! Good brother", tweeted Funkmaster Flex, the Hot 97 DJ who shared Mack's hits on the NYC station.

His friend and former producer Alvin Toney told the New York Daily News that Mack "was prepared for whatever comes, to go home to the Lord".

Mack's debut album Project: Funk da World was released on Puff Daddy's record label and reached number 21 on the United States charts. "Flava In Ya Ear" gave the label its first platinum single while a subsequent remix featured an early appearance from Notorious B.I.G.

Impressed with his contribution, Combs offered him a recording contract and released Mack's smooth, laid-back debut album, Project: Funk da World, in 1994. He released just one other album, Operation: Get Down, in 1997.

Mack had retired from rapping to devote himself to religion, Toney said. It contained the single Flava in Ya Ear, the remix of which reached the US Top 10 thanks in part to an all-star cast of guest rappers: the Notorious BIG, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J and Rampage.

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"I just got a disturbing phone call".

In a statement, Toney said, "God bless my friend". Mack is survived by his wife and two adult children.

'I wanted the world to know the talent he had.

"I can not believe this dude is gone", said DJ Scratch, the stage name for George Spivey.

According to EPMD's Erick Sermon, Mack was working on a new album. Because Craig was my rodie on tour. He would set up & break down my turntables every night...

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