Chris Kelly, 34, half of famed rap duo Kris Kross

Chris Kelly, performing at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, was known for the 1990s’ anthem “Jump.’’
2013 file/Associated Press
Chris Kelly, performing at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, was known for the 1990s’ anthem “Jump.’’

ATLANTA — Chris Kelly, half of the 1990s kid rap duo Kris Kross who made one of the decade’s most memorable songs with the frenetic ‘‘Jump,’’ died Wednesday, and authorities say they are investigating his death as a possible drug overdose.

The 34-year-old Mr. Kelly was pronounced dead around 5 p.m. at the south campus of the Atlanta Medical Center, said investigator Betty Honey of the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office. Corporal Kay Lester of the Fulton County police said ‘‘it appears it may have been a possible drug overdose.’’

An official cause of death is pending an autopsy.


Mr. Kelly, known as ‘‘Mac Daddy,’’ and Chris Smith, known as ‘‘Daddy Mac,’’ were introduced to the music world in 1992 by music producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri after he discovered the pair in an Atlanta mall.

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The duo wore their clothes backwards as a gimmick, but they won over fans with their raps.

Their first, and by far most successful song, was ‘‘Jump.’’ The hit, off their multiplatinum 1992 debut album ‘‘Totally Krossed Out,’’ featured the two trading versus and rapping the refrain, the song’s title.

The duo had surprising maturity in their rap delivery, though the song was written by Dupri.

It would become a No. 1 smash in the United States and globally, and one of the most popular of that year.


Their success led to instant fame: They toured with Michael Jackson, appeared on TV shows, and even had their own video game.

The group was never able to match the tremendous success of their first song, though they had other hits such as ‘‘Warm It Up,’’ and ‘‘Tonite’s tha Night.’’