The untimely death of Chris Kelly of the 90’s hip-hop group Kris Kross shocked fans who grew up with the duo’s big hit “Jump Jump” and followed their trend of wearing backwards clothing. DJ Nabs traveled with the group for years, while they were on the Michael Jackson tour and beyond.
While it’s sad that Kelly has passed on, his legacy is that of a young man who made a huge mark on the entertainment industry. While allegations of drug use and a possible overdose as a cause of are sad to hear, those that knew Kelly say he was a fun-loving guy. Nabs says he was good friends with Kelly even after Kris Kross fell out of the national spotlight.
“Kriss Kross professionally, really ended like 1997,” he told The Tom Joyner Morning Show. “I’ve been with Chris as he grew up, when he started driving, when he started going to the clubs. He was my little drinking partner for a while when I was still really partying hard in the clubs. We had been at each other’s birthday parties and holidays.”
Nabs says that any speculation that finances or the end of Kris Kross’ recording career played a role in his death are false. He says Chris was doing well, and that his family was well positioned financially.
“He enjoyed being a young man, having money, driving cars, dating girls. Kris Kross – we were busy for like four years straight, just touring and performing. Chris and his mother, Donna had a pretty decent-sized daycare center. Donna was pretty smart with her money and she took care of Chris. He never had financial problems even though he might have spent every dime he had in his pocket at the moment.”
Discovered at Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall as pre-teens, Chris Kelly and his partner Chris Smith became protégés of noted Atlanta producer Jermaine Dupri, eventually recording for his So So Def label, which just celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. Nabs was hired as the group’s DJ via Dupri’s father Michael Mauldin who managed Kris Kross and Arrested Development, who Nabs was close to.
Kelly’s funeral will be held on Thursday in Atlanta. Joyner said today that he is in negotiations to celebrate the 20th anniversary of So So Def All-Stars to the Tom Joyner Family Reunion this fall in Orlando, Florida.
(Photo: Courtesy of DJ Nabs)