Lovebug Starski, Pioneering Hip Hop Figure, Dies At 57: Coined The Term “Hip Hop”

Lovebug Starski, one of the forefathers of Hip Hop, has passed away. The pioneering DJ, record producer, MC and musician was 57 years old.

Starski, born Kevin Smith, is credited for having been one of the very first rappers. From the Bronx borough of New York, Starski, along with music partner DJ Hollywood, performed at the city’s “Burger King Disco”, where they would take the remnants of Disco and create what they would term “Hip Hop”.

Starski would release one of the very first rap songs, “Gangster Rock”, in 1979. He last recorded a single in 1986, entitled “Saturday Night”.

Tributes from celebrities poured in on social media. They mourned the loss of a transformational music figure who led the way in introducing the world to Hip Hop, and who also opened the door for generations of rappers, DJs, and producers who would follow him.

Public Enemy frontman Chuck D had this to say to HipHopDX over Starski’s passing:

“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”, Chuck D said.

“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.” (Chuck D, HipHopDX).

The cause of death is reported to have been a heart attack.

Starski had 5 daughters. Funeral arrangements are pending.

R.I.P. Lovebug Starski