Kris Kross rapper remembered at Atlanta funeral
ATLANTA (AP) — Chris Smith remembered his Kris Kross hip-hop partner Chris Kelly Thursday as a true friend who he's sure is in heaven now.
Smith struggled to blurt out words at the pulpit of Jackson Baptist Memorial Church at Kelly's funeral attended by some 300 friends, family and fellow entertainers
The 34-year-old Kelly, who had the 1992 hit "Jump" with Smith, was found dead May 1 of a suspected drug overdose. His mother and uncle told authorities Kelly had a history of drug abuse and experienced similar episodes in the past, according to a police report.
Donna Kelly Pratte, mother of Chris Kelly of the rap duo Kris Kross, wipes a tear during the funeral for her son, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Atlanta. The 34-year-old Kelly was found dead May 1 of a suspected drug overdose. Kriss Kross was introduced to the music world in 1992 by music producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri after he discovered the pair at a mall in southwest Atlanta. Kelly performed alongside Chris Smith, who known as "Daddy Mac." (AP Photo/David Goldman)
"It's been a struggle for me every day, but there was a peace that came over me this morning because I know he's in heaven," Smith said, as tears fell down his face.
Kelly's mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, continuously wept while she stared at her son's casket. At the beginning of the service, she pleaded for two of the deacons not to close the coffin.
"Please don't close it," she screamed. "Please don't close it on my baby."
Rapper-producer Jermaine Dupri, left, and Chris Smith, center, of the rap duo Kris Kross, arrive for the funeral service of Kriss Kross band member Chris Kelly, along with manager Michael Mauldin, rear, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Atlanta. The 34-year-old Kelly was found dead May 1 of a suspected drug overdose. Kriss Kross, the rap duo of Kelly and Smith, was introduced to the music world in 1992 by music producer and rapper Jermaine Dupri after he discovered the pair at a mall in southwest Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Before the service began, Smith walked into the church alongside rapper-producer Jermaine Dupri, who discovered the 1990s teen duo, at an Atlanta mall. Smith also talked about the last time performed he and Kelly performed together at the 20th anniversary of Durpri's label, So So Def., in late February.