Return Of the Mack – The Legacy of a #1 Hit
For nearly 25 years the sound of Mark Morrison’s Return of the Mack has graced weddings, clubs, and sporting events all over the world. No matter where you are, there is always a chance that you will hear the bellowing “ohhhhh” that kicks off the song and people will start dancing.
Who Is Mark Morrison?
In 1996 – when Return of the Mack was released Mark Morrison had already achieved success with songs like Crazy and Let’s Get Down. These songs gained traction and charted in the UK, where Morrison was raised. Morrison was born in Germany and lived in Miami for a bit, but mostly grew up in Leicester, England.
Morrison’s music had much more in common with American R&B than the sounds of the UK at the time. In fact, Morrison’s British accent hardly shines through in any of his music.
Return of the Mack
The song Return of the Mack is iconic, it went double platinum in the UK and platinum in the United States. It’s been covered by A-list celebrities and featured in blockbuster films. It’s a cross-generational hit with appeal for nearly any occasion.
It has a catchy sample of the song “Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club, as well as a few other less notable samples. Between 1996 and 1997 Return of the Mack charted in the top 100 of more than a dozen countries.
After the Mack
Unfortunately at the height of Return of the Mack’s popularity, Morrison attempted to bring a gun onto an airplane resulting in three months in jail. Then in 1998, Mack missed a court date and found himself locked up again for charges he’d later be cleared of.
His legal troubles continued. Morrison was arrested for his role in a brawl, for which he was obligated to do community service, but Morrison decided to pay someone else to perform his community service – resulting in Morrison going back to jail for a year. These legal shenanigans continued well through Morrison’s thirties.
Mark Morrison’s inability to stay out of trouble has consistently stunted his career from growing. Despite it being a solid decade since his last dust up with the law and he’s only released one full length album. Morrison’s 2014 album I Am What I Am, has songs with Young Buck and DMX as well as a reggae-ton remix of the title track I Am What I Am.
Mack Morrison is a complicated man who produced an undeniable cultural masterpiece. Return of the Mack is a damn near perfect song and Morrison’s impact can be heard in artists like Cee Lo and Pharrell.