Kris Kross

This article is about the hip-hop duo. For the other American singer-songwriter, see Christopher Cross.
Kris Kross

Kris Kross (Smith on left; Kelly at right) in 1996
Background information
Origin Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Genres Hip hop
Years active 1991–2001
2013 (reunion)
Associated acts
Past members Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith
Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly (deceased)

Kris Kross was an American hip hop duo formed in the early 1990s and consisting of Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly and Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith. The duo hit worldwide status with their smash 1992 hit, "Jump", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was certified double platinum as a single. The duo released three albums, their debut one Totally Krossed Out topping the US Billboard 200 while their following, Da Bomb and Young, Rich & Dangerous making it into the Top 20. The duo were also noted for their fashion style as they would wear their clothes backwards.


Cover art for Totally Krossed Out, the debut album of Kris Kross. Kelly on the left, Smith on the right.

The friendship of Atlanta natives James Christopher Kelly (August 11, 1978 May 1, 2013)[1] and Christopher Smith (born January 10, 1979) began in first grade.[2] The duo were discovered at an Atlanta shopping mall in 1991 by then 19-year-old Jermaine Dupri.

Totally Krossed Out, 1992

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 topped the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks, "becoming the first rap song to have achieved so long a run at the top. No other rap song had led the chart for that length of time."[3]

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", and got to No. 14 the same year as “Jump”. Writes The New York Daily News' Jim Farber: "Together, that was enough to propel the duo’s debut, 'Totally Krossed Out', to multi-platinum status."[3]

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

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 1991 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.

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 player's 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. The game was released only in the United States to poor sales figures and dismal reviews. It was ranked 18th on Electronic Gaming Monthly's list of the "20 Worst Games of All Time".[4] 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.

Da Bomb (1993)

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 has discovered. Most of their songs had been directed at rivals Da Youngstas, Illegal, and Another Bad Creation.

Young, Rich & Dangerous (1996)

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".

Judgement Records, fourth album and first hiatus

Judgement Records is a record label, started by Joe Nicolo in 1999 after Ruffhouse Records was dissolved. Kris Kross followed Nicolo to his new label and recorded their 25 tracked fourth album in 2000-2001. The album was never released.


Kelly studied engineering, and founded C Connection Records. Smith studied marketing and business management and founded One Life Entertainment, Inc.

Final show

Kris Kross' last performance was in their hometown at the Fox Theatre for So So Def's 20th Anniversary concert in 2013.[5]


Kris Kross was the youngest rap duo to gain success, with gold and platinum albums, at 11 and 12 years old. They have been referenced on the albums or songs of Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Method Man and many more.

Chris Smith's Urbane Muse

Urbane Muse is an online site with a focus in art, music and film. This site showcases a selection of works by Smith. Urbane Muse Magazine aims to cover art, music, design, film, culture and more. Founded by Smith to present his projects, paintings, exhibitions, writings, other works and research.

Chris Smith Urbane Muse Black Shades Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel 36 x 48 .jpeg

Death of Chris Kelly

On May 1, 2013, Chris Kelly was found unconscious in his Atlanta home. He was pronounced dead around 5 p.m. on the south campus of the Atlanta Medical Center; he was 34 years old.[6][7][8] 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."[9][10] The following day, Dupri tweeted a "letter to fans", in which he referred to Kelly as "a son I never had", and praised Kelly as an artist. 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 shows that Kelly had a mixture of drugs in his system, including cocaine and heroin.[11]


Studio albums

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

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

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. "Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly (1978-2013)". 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  2. Betts, Stephen (2013-05-03). "Kris Kross' Chris Smith Mourns Death of Chris Kelly". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  3. 1 2 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.
  4. "EGM's Crapstravaganza: The 20 Worst Games of All Time". Retrieved 2011-01-14.
  5. "Kris Kross Is Back for the '90s Reunion You Didn't Even Know You Wanted—But You Do Now, Jump! Jump!". E! Online. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  6. Fleeman, Mike. "Chris Kelly's Death: Kris Kross Member Died of Overdose". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  7. "OVERDOSE SUSPECTED IN DEATH OF KRIS KROSS RAPPER". Associated Press. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  8. Staff (May 1, 2013). "UPDATE: Kris Kross Rapper, Chris 'Mac Daddy' Kelly, Dead At 34 From Suspected Drug Overdose [VIDEO]". NewsOne For Black America.
  9. Mike Fleeman (May 2, 2013). "Chris Kelly Used Cocaine and Heroin Before Death". People.
  10. "Chris Kelly". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. May 12, 2013.
  11. Duke, Alan (July 3, 2013). "Kris Kross' Chris Kelly died from overdose, autopsy says". CNN.
  12. "Kris Kross Album & Song Chart History – Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  13. "Kris Kross Album & Song Chart History – R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  14. 1 2 Australian (ARIA Chart) peaks:
  15. " – Austria Top 40". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  16. " – Swedish charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  17. 1 2 "Official Charts – Kris Kross". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  18. 1 2 Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  19. 1 2 "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on October 19, 2010. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  20. 1 2 3 "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – September 19, 2010: Kris Kross certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  21. "Kris Kross Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
  22. " – Belgian charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  23. "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  24. " – French charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  25. " – Irish charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  26. " – New Zealand charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  27. "– Swiss charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  28. " – Swedish charts portal". Retrieved September 19, 2010.
  29. 1 2 3 4 "RIAA – Gold & Platinum – September 19, 2010: Kris Kross certified singles". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 19, 2010.

External links

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