Chris Kelly Biography - Songs, Kris Kross & Death

Chris Kelly is best known as half of the rap duo Kris Kross, who scored a No. 1 success with their 1992 single “Jump.”

Chris Kelly: Who Was He?

Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and his buddy Chris Smith formed the rap group Kris Kross after getting discovered in 1990. The pair was famous for wearing their clothing backward and for their successful 1992 song “Jump.” Kelly died on May 1, 2013, in Atlanta, at the age of 34. A narcotic overdose was suspected as the cause of death.

Chris Kelly Early Years

Chris Kelly was born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 11, 1978. Jermaine Dupri found Kelly and his buddy Chris Smith at Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall in 1990. Despite the fact that Dupri was only a teenager, he spotted something special in the youthful team and wanted to collaborate with them. Kelly and Smith collaborated with Dupri to create a demo tape, which resulted in their contract with Ruffhouse Records.


Kris Kross: Albums and Songs

Kelly and Smith formed the rap duo Kris Kross, and their first single, “Jump,” became an instant smash. Jermaine Dupri’s “Jump” remained at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 list for eight weeks in 1992. The song featured on the multiplatinum-selling album Totally Krossed Out (1992), and its popularity led to Kris Kross playing alongside musicians such as Michael Jackson. Fans of Kris Kross started to mimic the duo’s approach of wearing their outfits backward.

Kris Kross continued to record singles after the triumph of “Jump,” including “Warm It Up.” They also made a video game called Kris Kross: Make My Video and recorded the “Rugrats Rap” for Nickelodeon’s Rugrats. However, as Kelly and Smith aged, they attempted to toughen their image on succeeding albums. Despite two modestly successful albums, the team would never again record a single as popular as “Jump.” They split up following the release of their 1996 album, Young, Rich, and Dangerous.

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After Kris Kross, what comes next?

Kelly stayed active in music after leaving Kris Kross, including going to school to become a studio engineer. Kelly was shown with many bald areas in 2009. Kelly revealed that he had alopecia to quell rumors that he had cancer.

Though Kris Kross had dissolved, Kelly rejoined with Smith in February 2013 for a concert commemorating Jermaine Dupri’s label, So So Def’s, 20th anniversary.

Chris Kelly’s Legacy and Death

Kelly was found lifeless at his Atlanta home on May 1, 2013. Kelly was transferred to an Atlanta hospital, where he died later that day. He was 34 years old at the time. His death was thought to be the result of a drug overdose.

Following Kelly’s passing, friends, family, and fans expressed their condolences. Dupri said that Kelly was his son, and rapper LL Cool J revealed that he would dedicate his song “Jump On It” to Kelly. In addition, several admirers said that they would wear their outfits backward to honor the late rapper.


  • Name: Chris Kelly
  • Birth Year: 1978
  • Birth date: August 11, 1978
  • Birth State: Georgia
  • Birth City: Atlanta
  • Birth Country: United States
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: Chris Kelly is best known for making up one half of the rap duo Kris Kross, who had a No. 1 hit with their 1992 song “Jump.”
  • Astrological Sign: Leo
  • Death Year: 2013
  • Death date: May 1, 2013
  • Death State: Georgia
  • Death City: Atlanta
  • Death Country: United States