Tonight on Twitter the news spread like wildfire that Chris Kelly, one half of the 90’s rap duo Kriss Kross, passed away. According to ABC News, reasons are as yet unconfirmed.
I can’t deny that this news made me immediately sad, and brought back so many memories of a particular era of my life. The early 90’s, when life was all about owning a Cross Colors teeshirt and the perfect pair of Keds. When I was just starting to think I like boys and maybe one might like me back (maybe). Such an innocent, angsty time.
I was of that Kriss Kross generation. Jump would be on the soundtrack of my life. That song was a HUGE hit around the world, and the fact that Jamaican dancehall superstar Supercat was on the track made it even bigger in the islands. From the minute that song started, people went wild.
CNN says Chris Kelly and Chris Smith were just “13-year-olds when they were discovered in 1991 at an Atlanta mall by Jermaine Dupri.” I was the same age.
The memory that instantly came flooding back to me was when Kriss Kross came to Trinidad – all of my friends from school got to go to the concert, but my parents refused to let me go. We had a family obligation and they weren’t budging, no matter how big my crush was or how much I loved their songs. I remember the cassette of Totally Krossed Out was a highly coveted item amongst my girlfriends. And to this day, when my husband and I are going to reheat a meal, odds are high that one of us might make a reference to their follow up hit, Warm It Up. Cause we’re silly like that.
Hearing that Chris Kelly passed away made me feel like a little sliver of my childhood died. And it made me reflect on what happens to celebrities after their time in the spotlight has ended. What must it have been like to be THAT famous at age 13? And what happens when you have to reinvent yourself and leave fame and fortune behind? Hearing the news made me all kinds of reflective.
I think it’s undeniable Chris Kelly, Chris Smith and Jermaine Dupri created magic in the studio back in 1992. I’ll always love Jump, and hearing that song will always take me back to being 13, when dancing and music and knowing the latest songs was so essential to my being, and not being allowed to go to a concert was the biggest worry I had in the world.
Thank you for the memories, Chris Kelly. RIP.