Hip-Hop Pioneer Lovebug Starski Dies At 57
The hip-hop community mourns the man who created the genre's name itself. Legendary pioneer Lovebug Starski passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 57 on February 8. He first appeared on the hip-hop scene in the 70s as an MC in The Bronx.
Kevin Smith, a Bronx native, later known as Lovebug Starski, was a prominent figure of the late 70s. It’s reported that he was the one who created the term “hip-hop”. As he told it, the name of this music genre came to his mind during a farewell party. Smith and Keith Cowboy were jokingly imitating a drill sergeant calling off marching orders.
Later, he used the term at parties where he DJ’ed. Sugarhill Gang adapted the term on their 1979 single “Rapper’s Delight", which is now sought to be the first modern hip-hop recording.
Even though Lovebug Starski released a lot of singles throughout his career, including “Gangster Rock” and “Dancin’ Party People”, the rapper didn’t achieve a proper recognition. But many true hip-hop fans recognize his impact and value his legacy.
Other hip-hop pioneers, such as Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Chuck D, often remembered him in the conversation:
Lovebug Starski was A DJ, MC and innovator. A pioneer who excelled before and after the recording line of ’79, the year when rap records began. He was the first double trouble threat in Hip Hop and rap music. He DJ’ed for the great MCs and MC’ed with the great DJs. Besides Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lovebug Starski was one of the few that took his legendary street records status into the recording world.
A number of hip-hop artists expressed their deepest condolences on social media:
— Okayplayer (@okayplayer) February 9, 2018
We Lost One Of Our Greatest Pioneers Of Hip Hop...
He Is Also Known As One Of The People Who Came Up With The Name "HIP HOP" Aside From Another Legend "Keith Cowboy" Of "The Furious 5"...
— DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER) February 9, 2018
Some terrible news: hip-hop legend Lovebug Starski has died suddenly and unexpectedly in Las Vegas at age 60. ☹️ Very sad. The man was a gifted entertainer, a warm, generous soul. He had been rocking Vegas venues and joined KRS-One on stage last week. Rest peacefully good sir. pic.twitter.com/kHggNAbIsS
— Jonathan Shecter (@SheckyGreen) February 9, 2018
Lovebug Starski will forever remain memorialized in music history for his production/DJ work -AND- for the fact that his name has been shouted out millions of times as people rhyme along w Big. | #RIPLovebugStarski #NYC pic.twitter.com/k6H1ylcMHh
— Miss TLC (@IAmMissTLC) February 9, 2018
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) February 9, 2018
Rest in eternal peace to Hip Hop pioneer & legend Lovebug Starski
— Dart_Adams (@Dart_Adams) February 9, 2018
The ripple effects of Lovebug Starski’s contributions to Hip Hop can still be felt today. He had an uncanny knack for mixing records while simultaneously MCing, making him one of the most integral forefathers of Hip Hop.
R.I.P to a true pioneer pic.twitter.com/qhyyL4792g
— Rhymesayers Ent. (@rhymesayers) February 10, 2018
Rest in Peace to one of the pioneer originators of Hip Hop the BX legend Lovebug Starski.
— R.A. the Rugged Man (@RAtheRuggedMan) February 9, 2018
Although Lovebug Starski is not with us anymore, he left an important mark in this world and in hip-hop history.