“Everything is turned to the back with a little slack…” Everything inside out. For a couple of young child rappers, the effect could be disastrous, but for Kris Kross duo Chris Kelly “Mac Daddy” and Chris Smith “Daddy Mac” it paid off ten fold. Not only did their wardrobe switch up make them stand out in a game of power players twice their age, it launched them into the pop stratosphere as fast as you could “Jump.”
The Kris Kross era was a colossal moment for ’90s kids. We were only in grade school, and our parents were just beginning to trust us to dress ourselves. Something about those jerseys and jeans worn reverse, sparked something in us. We realized that we could take something so ordinary, flip it and make a huge statement. Although the nuns at my catholic school weren’t on board with the style, we soon found that we had a voice through fashion.
Kris Kross kicked off our obsession with baggy jeans, sportwear, and cornrows. And if you had that slight nick in your eyebrow, you were way too fly. We could identify with “missing the bus,” and although we couldn’t party just yet, we all could raise our hands and jump. In addition to our own stamp on fashion, we finally our own sound. For many of us, Totally Krossed Out was the first rap album our parents actually let us own, but it was cool enough for grown folks to rock. They weren’t just boasting about being fly, they were. And they’re one of the reasons we’ll proud to say we grew up in the ’90s.
In a recent interview with Yahoo!, Chris Kelly explained how a simple idea sparked a new fashion trend:
“It was kind of a collective idea. We was all just sitting around thinking of something to do different. It probably could have been Jermaine [Dupri] that said, ‘Hey let’s put our pants on backwards.’ I was the first one to do it, and I’m still the last one to still be doing it. We went to the mall and got so much attention. We was like, ‘Ok, this is it.’ And it just went from there.”
Chris Kelly was found dead yesterday in Atlanta. The cause of death has yet to be confirmed, although it seems to be an apparent drug overdose at press time. 34 is way too young. Rest in peace, Chris Kelly, and all of our love to his family, friends and So So Def team.
Relive 10 of our favorite Kris Kross moments below.