Lovebug Starski, one of the pioneers of hip-hop, has died from a heart attack yesterday, Rolling Stone reports.
Born Kevin Smith, Starski was a prolific rapper and DJ in the 1970s and ’80s. While the exact origin of the term has been disputed, he was widely credited with coining the term “hip-hop” by incorporating the phrase in his rhymes. You might of heard his name in the opening verse of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”.
“You never thought that hip-hop would take it this far … Peace to Ron G, Brucie B, Kid Capri/ Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starski.”
Starski was still performing over the past decade, including playing a show with KRS-One in Las Vegas last week. He was recentlying trying to revive his DJ career with gigs including a weekly residency at the rooftop lounge of Indian restaurant Turmeric. His final appearance there was on Wednesday night, just hours before his death, according to his manager, Jeremy Crittenden.
Hip-hop icons including DJ Premier, Chuck D., Monie Love, Just Blaze and Grandmaster Flash offered tributes to Starski on social media Thursday night. “We lost one of our greatest pioneers of hip hop,” Premier tweeted.