Lovebug Starski, a rapper and D.J. who was instrumental in the birth of rap — and even claimed to have invented the phrase “hip hop” — died Thursday.
The 57-year-old Bronx-born artist died of a heart attack in Las Vegas, Rolling Stone reported.
Starski, born Kevin Smith, was right there in hip hop’s earliest days, spinning and rhyming.
In June, Starski told Amoeba Music he first used the “hip hop” phrase as a sort of placeholder.
“That was one of my rhymes when I would get stuck for words and I used to go ‘hip, hop, the hip, the hip, hip the hopping.’ You know it was just a nursery rhyme: nursery rhymes that coincided with the music and that’s the God’s honest truth.”
Starski released songs like “Gangster Rock” in 1979 and “Dancin’ Party People” in 1981.
DJ Premier tweeted “We Lost One Of Our Greatest Pioneers Of Hip Hop.”