Craig Mack came home today, in spirit, as friends and family gathered on Long Island, N.Y. for a special memorial dedicated to the late rap legend.
Held at Hempstead's Faith Baptist Church, Mack's former manager and business partner Alvin Toney spearheaded the ceremony with his current business associates, and it was attended by Mack's longtime friends from the industry such as International Special, former Bad Boy executive June Balloon, and DJs Curt Flirt and Scratch.
Scratch spoke and gave testimony about Mack, who was his assistant on the road while they both toured with EPMD in the 80s. The DJ recalled Mack teaching him great resolve through his own actions.
"The people that grew up with you never look at you the same way your fans view you," Scratch said before sharing shocking alleged hardships Mack had to go through on tour.
"Craig was the guy that everybody bullied. Everybody bullied Craig Mack. I didn't understand why they treated him like that," he said. "I seen that man go through a lot of bad treatment from those who were supposed to be his friends. Before Bad Boy, after Bad Boy, he was the first person I've ever seen in life get treated the way he got treated by his own people and never ever talked bad about any of them. Craig taught me restraint."
Scratch also lamented that Mack was down with EPMD the longest, but that they never put him on any of the albums released from their crew. The DJ noted nine classic LPs that came out between EPMD and their artists Redman, K-Solo and Das EFX before the duo eventually broke up and split the faction.
"Mack was Hit Squad before any of them were discovered," Scratch said. "And he never had a verse on anybody's album."
June Balloon revealed that he'd spoken to Mack just a week and half before his death and that he got the chance to tell his friend how much he appreciated him for "changing the complexion of rap" as well as for "starting a new era in music."
"He's just a great person, a brother to me, family," Balloon said. "To this day, that's my brother. [A] great family person. He was a New Yorker, [a] Long Islander, [a] trendsetter. He didn't do shiny suits. Only thing shiny was the sheen on his 'fro."
Other friends and family described Mack as happy, jolly, "all about peace," and a genius.
"I believe death is just a doorway to everlasting life," Reverend Dr. William A. Watson Jr. told the congregation. "When Mack found God for himself, he left a trail for all to get involved."