Kris Kross: The Lost Years
On February 23rd, '90s rap duo Kris Kross will reunite on an Atlanta stage to perform at a celebration honoring the 20th anniversary of So So Def Recordings. Here, we peer into several scenes in the life of Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac from their many years spent away from the spotlight.
2002. Mac Daddy is no good on the phone, and he's no good at delivering bad news. Mac Daddy gets emotional.
"So when's the wedding, MD? Still time for me to get fitted for a backwards tux?"
"Listen, Daddy Mac. About that."
"Hey Mac, it's cool, it's cool. I don't need to be the best man or anything. I just can't wait to meet this lady of yours."
"You're not coming, Daddy Mac."
Mac Daddy swallows hard. That damn lump in his throat-- it always shows up when he's trying to be strong. The silent seconds feel like minutes.
"She doesn't know, does she, Mac Daddy?"
Mac Daddy speaks slowly, measuring every word so his voice doesn't break.
"She's never going to know. And I'm not Mac Daddy anymore. I'm Chris."
2003. Atlanta, Georgia. Kris Kross and Coca-Cola: the two greatest local institutions. Daddy Mac's got storyboards under his arm. He strides to the front desk and gives it two knocks. The kid doesn't even look up.
"Here to see the president. Tell him Daddy Mac is coming up."
Now the kid looks. Who is this kid, anyway?
"Do you have an appointment?"
Daddy Mac tips his shades low and eyeballs the kid. This clown must be new here.
"You must be new here. Daddy Mac here to see the president. Got some new ideas, Sprite marketing, Sprite crossovers. Big Sprite ideas, man. He's gonna want to see these."
"I'm afraid you can't see anyone without an appointment."
Daddy Mac just has to chuckle.
"OK, my dude. But the boys upstairs won't be too happy when they found out who you turned away. I'm quadruple platinum, my dude. That's four-ex platinum. I'll be back. Maybe you won't."
Daddy Mac turns and strides. Daddy Mac's schedule is wide open. The Sprite ideas can wait till tomorrow if the kid wants to be a bigshot, but it's his ass.
"Um, sir? Sir?"
Daddy Mac turns around. Kid must have called upstairs. Good.
"Sir, your pants are on backwards."
2004. Mac Daddy necks a Xanax. It's the toughest day of the week. It's laundry day. Any minute, this perfect life-- this charade-- could come crashing down.
"Chris, I just don't understand," his wife chides. "Why do the fronts of your pants wear out before the backs? It's like you've been wearing them b--"
"My pants are fucking fine, Deborah."
She's stunned. Chris has never raised his voice before.
Mac Daddy closes his eyes. Focus. Take control. Suppress the trembling.
She must never know.
2006. Six rings. Seven rings. Daddy Mac isn't nervous. Sometimes Jermaine doesn't pick up if he doesn't recognize the number. Plus, he's a busy guy these days. He was always a busy guy, but he used to have a little more time for his friends. Nine rings.
"Big J! Congrats on the Grammy, dude. You know I popped a Korbel when they read your name out."
"Who is this?"
"It's the D A double D Y to the M A C, man! God, it really has been too long."
Jermaine Dupri stays up pretty late, so a phone call at 11PM isn't beyond the limits of good taste. Jermaine and Daddy Mac were always night owls.
"How did you get this number, Chris? We've talked about this, Chris."
2008 . The words Mac Daddy dreads.
"Do I know you from somewhere?"
No, you Applebees punk. You were five years old. You don't fucking know me.
"I don't think so. I'll have a Blue Moon, and my wife would like a Main Street 'Rita."
"Seriously man, like, ah, a VH1 thing? Were you on the Urkel show? Or, like, a music--"
Mac Daddy slams his menu closed. Deborah is startled.
"This guy's a racist, Deborah."
"Nononono man, I'm so sorry, I wasn't trying to say--"
"Chris, I don't think he meant anything by it."
Mac Daddy stands up and gives the teenager a hard stare.
"The guy's a racist, Deborah. We're leaving."
2010. Daddy Mac was up all night going over the Powerpoint presentation for Kris Kross: Make My Video 2. Why is he being such a hardass? They've known each other for years.
"Look, it's a double comeback. Kris Kross and Sega CD, both back in the big time. It can't miss, Irv."
"Every month with this shit. I'm tellin' ya for the last time, Daddy Mac. Nobody wants Kris Kross anymore. The kids today, they want Justin God-Damn Beaver's Make My Video."
"But Irv," Mac protests. "Just gimme one more chance here. We're gonna do this thing together."
"Listen up, you little shit," the executive explodes. "I'm the last god-damned Sega CD executive in the business, and I don't stick my neck out for nobody."
2012. Shit. Deborah is home early.
Mac Daddy yanks off his belt and struggles to jerk the pant legs past his boots. No time to unlace. Shit, shit, shit.
"Chris? Are you home?"
"Just a minute! I'm just--"
One pant leg is off, inside-out, but the boot has jerked free and is stuck within it. Chris shakes it like a dog snapping a rabbit's neck. The boot thumps on the wall. He flips his jeans around and yanks them up. The cuff won't slip past the remaining boot. His pants are right-way around when the door opens, but they're only up to his hips.
Deborah stands incredulous in the doorway. She looks at the TV. It's a video, on mute, of something distantly familiar. Could it be an old Sprite commercial?
"What were you doing in here, Chris?"
She would never understand. She can't know. She'd leave me, she'd take the kids.
"Chris, have you been crying?"
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