On this day, September 20, in hip-hop history…
1994: Overshadowed by the release of his label-mate The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die, a week earlier, Craig Mack’s debut Project: Funk Da World is one of hip-hop’s most underrated albums ever. Packed with Mack’s off-kilter, baritone flow and superproducer Easy Mo Bee’s state-of-the-art production, the album would go on to become a hit and be certified Gold for Mack in 1994.
The album is most notable for featuring Mack’s anthemic, platinum-selling smash, “Flava In Ya Ear,” which has the vaunted distinction of being the first song released from Sean “Puffy” Comb’s iconic label, Bad Boy Records, in 1994. Featuring a nuclear-grade-funk-influenced beat, “Flava In Ya Ear” is often considered one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all-time and spawned a massively popular remix featuring stars such as LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Rampaga Da Last Boy Scout and The Notorious B.I.G. who’s verse is often considered one of the most memorable of all-time. The album would also spawn two other singles including “Makin’ Moves With Puff” and “Get Down” which would be certified Gold for 500,000 records sales.
Despite his success, Mack was never able to achieve as much success, again, as Craig found himself being outshined by his label-mate, The Notorious B.I.G. The success of Biggie’s debut Ready To Die dwarfed Project: Funk Da World’s success and Mack lost favor with Puffy and his record label. Mack went on to release one more album, Operation: Get Down, on Street Life Records in 1997 but was unable to match the Gold-selling success of his debut. History might have been different if Mack’s career had not intersected so heavily with Biggie’s.