RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Monday, July 9

EWA100 - #34. Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear

34. Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear (Bad Boy. 1994. From the LP Funk Da World)

Mike Dikk: When this song first hit, there was no fucking way I would have believed Craig Mack would become one hit wonder. He’s possibly the most memorable one hit wonder, but a one hit wonder none the less.
Craig Mack was a very ugly young man whose fifteen minutes of fame was almost literal. This single sounded like the fucking future when it dropped. The beat was almost otherworldly and Craig had the rhymes and flow to match it every step of the way. It was without a doubt the most popular song in my high school for a solid month. It was one of those songs with an infinite shelf life that would more than likely spark a very long and healthy career.
Unfortunately for Craig, there was another very gifted ugly young man on his own record label by the name of Biggie Smalls. The same time “Flava in Ya Ear” dropped, so did “Juicy” (or was it “Big Poppa”? Either way...), and “Flava” was definitely the favorite right out of the gate, but B.I.G. ended up building a legacy and Craig’s career basically lasted only until the end of the fadeout on his “Flava” remix video.
It’s quite ironic that not only did B.I.G. appear as the first rapper on CRAIG’S OWN REMIX, and for the most part, kill Craig on his own shit, but it’s where he spat the “U.P.S. is hirin’” line. Since then, I’ve always imagined all has been rappers working at this mythical U.P.S. somewhere in Brooklyn that strictly employs washed up rappers. Where do bad folks go when they die? They go to that U.P.S. up in Bed Stuy.
I knew something was rotten when Craig’s follow up to one of the most gigantic hit songs in rap history was a fucking remix of that song. That was like an internal alarm telling me not to bother with buying the full length, because you only put out a remix as your second single if the rest of the album is garbage. In all honesty, I have no idea if the rest of the album was garbage. I’ve never heard it.
Supposedly, Craig didn’t want to get with the new Bad Boy program, which meant cleaning up his image and making pop style radio hits. I used to wholeheartedly believe that, but I don’t really know anymore. I mean, it sounds really believable, since for the most part, Biggie’s Life After Death is overflowing with steaming shitpiles of pop rap, and so was everything else on Bad Boy for most of the years following, but at the same time, I’ve never heard anyone talk about any other Craig Mack songs. Surely if the case of his career going sour was solely based on not wanting to “sell out”, it meant that the rest of his album was off the charts and it didn’t matter what label was backing him, right?
I don’t know the truth. All I know is that “Flava in Ya Ear” is a tremendous fucking song, and even though it’s pretty highly ranked on here, it’s probably still too low. If you heard it for the first time right now, you might not think so, because it sounds like any other great song from the time period, but this song was seriously on some completely new I Need To Wear My Most Expensive Sunday Clothes When I Listen To This Because It’s So Fresh shit. It’s just a real shame that this was seemingly all Craig had in him. In closing, the original “Flava in Ya Ear” track was around 3 minutes and 35 seconds and the remix was about 4:45, so I guess you could even say Craig’s fifteen minutes was really only 8:15.

Raven Mack: The whole rise of Bad Boy and Mr. Diddy Combs has always intrigued me, because, for the most part, all they've made is some butt ass pop rap bullshit. Even when Puff Dilly was talent scout at Uptown, he was coming with the commercialized light skin lover man Heavy D and his boyz, as well as I think Mary J. maybe or some other schmucky shit that I probably didn't listen to because back then I was on some "Yo, fuck that R&B bullshit" knowledge, which clear channel aural monosodium glutamate has seemingly starved out of me in recent years. But Puffy Dad came through with Craig Mack and Biggie there for the one-two punch to put Bad Boy on the map. Biggie's two was a knockout though and everybody forgot Craig on the one.
Mike's right... I remember when this shit came out and back then everybody was super-syllabic filling every segment of a measure of music, with very standard A/A/B/B styles that were considered ingenius when you through two or three extra As into the middle of the line. Then along comes Craig Mack, like a retarded crack baby, stuttering his way through nonsense words and phrases, yet somehow still holding it all together on the punch points of the beat, and declaring this was the brand new flavor. Who the fuck wasn't gonna believe that? He was from the future, and in the future it was obvious everybody got mad blunted and had battery acid thrown in their faces at birth.
I vaguely remember a second non-remix Craig Mack single off that initial Bad Boy offering, and it being a very glossy Hype Williams-looking video, since Bad Boy had blown the fuck up, but the song was shitty, because it was that same futuristic shit, which had already been played out. See, as a modern mortal, when I think of futuristic shit, it's always evolving, because it's ahead of my time, so it's going to dazzle me with seven thousand different mad flavors for my ear. When it only has one, I assume it is not actually someone from the future, but some ugly redboned dude who caught lightning in a bottle for one track.
Still, I was always proud of Craig Mack for not walking around in shiny suits and shit like Bad Boy got into. But also, he might've saved us from so many monotone deliveries that Puffy forced at us over the following years. Or he could've at least still been around to ghostwrite some good shit for Puffy to say out loud on tracks when he moved into full on self-promotion. I have often wished that Craig Mack came back and killed Puffy in some weird vengeful glory, and I barely remember reading a story a while back about Craig trying to confront Puffy about something (this could all be retarded memory though), and of course, this has twisted around in my mind to some story of Puffy in a house with big cement walls and security cameras like Scarface, sitting there being gay, and Craig Mack scales the walls like an urban commando ninja, and he makes it into the house, but right as he's about to get into the main hallway upstairs where P. Diddy is laying low, in the dark, wearing sunglasses and a shiny suit, three big ass super-dark security guards - like big enough to snatch up Tiny Lister a foot off the ground - grab Craig, and he's all yelling about getting Puffy, who just sits there at his desk, looking at the security screens smiling at the image of Craig getting hauled away, and then Mase's head pops up from under desk, peeks at the camera and smiles back at Diddy and then goes back under the desk out of sight. I don't think that's how the story actually went, but that's how I remember reading it in the paper or magazine or wherever I think I read that.

Download: Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear AND Craig Mack - Flava In Ya Ear (REMIX feat. Notorious B.I.G., LL Cool J, Rampage & Busta Rhymes)

Watch the video:

...and the REMIX video:

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