A central theme of Dro’s interview on the platform was the Hustle Gang rapper’s personal relationship with addiction. After revealing that he began smoking cannabis at the age of 12, Young Dro was asked about his friendship with Kris Kross rapper Chris Smith.
“Me and Chris Smith, we was very cool,” the “Shoulder Lean” rapper said. “That’s where my inspiration came from. I seen how shawty had all the girls, he had the clothes. And then I get home, this dude on TV, on the radio. I was like, ‘I gotta do this.’”
From there, the interview pivoted to Dro’s relationship with the popular teen group’s other rapper, Chris Kelly, who died in 2013 of an accidental overdose at the age of 34. An autopsy later revealed the former child star had a combination of heroin, cocaine, ethanol and hydrocodone, and alprazolam in his system.
Young Dro went on to explain that he and Kelly ran into each other on more than one occasion while battling addiction. “We was in our addiction together,” Dro said. “Before he died, we was getting high in a club. My brother actually had a club in Atlanta, and I seen him at the club and he was doing his thing, I was doing my thing. I was high as a goddamn kite, he was too.
“And one day, we actually went to jail together,” he continued. “I seen him at Rice Street. And we sitting down, he drunk as fuck, I’m fucked up. And he seen me and he was like, “D’Juan?’ And I’m like, ‘I was sitting here waiting for you to say some shit. Both of us don’t wanna be here.’ But I seen him before he passed.”
So So Def affiliate and Atlanta radio royalty DJ Nabs, who worked closely with Kris Kross throughout their career, took objection to the use of Chris Kelly’s name being used in the headline to promote Dro’s interview. He voiced his disappointment in an Instagram post, calling DJ Vlad to task for the decision.
“This story was cool and all that…ain’t no secret what Chris was going thru,” Nabs wrote. “But if you people wanna know who Chris Kelly was and his true story, yall need to come to his friends and family. This click bait shit is wack. And @1youngdro is well respected by me and mine just to be clear but @vladtv Let’s talk.”
While Chris Kelly’s addiction wasn’t necessarily a matter of public knowledge prior to him passing, it was no secret to his family. At the time of his death, TMZ reported that his mother, Donna Kelly Pratte, had told authorities that her son had taken a combination of cocaine and heroin — commonly known as a speedball — the night before he was found unresponsive at home.
Pratte reportedly told authorities that she had brought her son home to sober up and that this was not the first time she’d had to give him this type of assistance.
“Donna told cops Kelly had felt nauseous all morning before passing out,” TMZ reported. “According to the report, Kelly’s mother and Kelly’s uncle both told investigators the rapper had an ‘extensive history of drug use.’”
Following his death, Donna Kelly Pratte went on to issue a joint statement with So So Def founder Jermaine Dupri, who famously discovered Chris Smith and Chris Kelly at Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall when they were just 13.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved Chris Kelly has passed away on May 1. To millions of fans worldwide, he was the trendsetting, backwards pants-wearing one-half of Kris Kross who loved making music,” the statement read. “But to us, he was just Chris—the kind, generous and fun-loving life of the party.
“Though he was only with us a short time, we feel blessed to have been able to share some incredible moments with him. His legacy will live on through his music, and we will forever love him.”