Lovebug Starski

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Lovebug Starski
Background information
Birth nameKevin Smith
Born(1960-05-16)May 16, 1960
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 8, 2018(2018-02-08) (aged 57)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Occupation(s)Rapper, DJ, record producer
Years active1971–2018

Kevin Smith (May 16, 1960 – February 8, 2018),[1] best known by his stage name Lovebug Starski, was an American MC, musician, and record producer. He began his career as a record boy in 1971 as hip-hop first appeared in the Bronx, and he eventually became a DJ at the Disco Fever club in 1978. He is one of two people who may have come up with the term "hip-hop".[2] Starski claimed that he coined the phrase, while trading the two words back and forth, while improvising lines with Keef Cowboy of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, at a farewell party for a friend who was headed into the Army.[1]


Starski recorded his first single, "Positive Life," on the Tayster record label in 1981.[3] (The British Group MARRS would sample this in 1987 with the No. 1 single "Pump Up the Volume".) Later, he recorded a song for the soundtrack of the 1986 film Rappin',[3] which was released on Atlantic Records, before recording his first album, House Rocker, on Epic/CBS Records.[3] This featured his most successful chart single, "Amityville (The House on the Hill),"[3] a parody song named in reference to the film The Amityville Horror (itself based on alleged supernatural activities surrounding the DeFeo murder case). It was a No. 12 hit on the UK Singles Chart[4] in 1986. Lovebug Starski sank into cocaine dependency and was imprisoned for possession of illegal substances in 1987.[3] On release in December 1991, he returned to a DJ residency at his former haunt, Disco Fever.[3]

Lovebug Starski and World Famous Brucie B, also worked together at the Rooftop Roller rink in Harlem during the 1980s.[citation needed]


Starski died of a heart attack in Las Vegas on February 8, 2018, at the age of 57, while moving speakers out of storage into his apartment.[1][5] Smith had recently relocated to Las Vegas, where he was working to revive his DJ career with gigs including a weekly residency at the rooftop lounge of Indian restaurant Turmeric Flavors of India. His final appearance there was just hours before his death, according to his manager, Jeremy Crittenden.[5] He is survived by his mother, Martha Bowes; two sisters, Kim Shaw and Karen Rivers; three daughters, Tiffany Williams, Shantel Williams and Bryanna Smith; three granddaughters and a grandson.[1]



  • House Rocker (1986)

Singles [edit]

  • "Gangster Rock" (1979) (as Little Starsky)
  • "Dancin' Party People" (1981) (as Little Starsky)
  • "Positive Life" (1981) (with Harlem World Crew)
  • "Live At The Fever" (1983) (On Fever Records)
  • "Live At The Fever Pt.2" (1983) (On Fever Records)
  • "You've Gotta Believe" (On Fever Records) (1983)
  • "Do The Right Thing" (1984)
  • "House Rocker" (1985)
  • "Rappin'" (1985)
  • "Amityville (The House on the Hill)" (1986)
  • "Saturday Night" (1986)


  1. ^ a b c d Caramanica, Jon (February 9, 2018). "Lovebug Starski, Hip-Hop Trailblazer, Is Dead at 57". The New York Times. p. B8.
  2. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (August 7, 2016). "Grandmaster Flash: 'Hip-hop's message was simple: we matter'". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 205. ISBN 0-7535-0252-6.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 331. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ a b Serwer, Jesse (February 9, 2018). "Lovebug Starski, Rap Pioneer Who Popularized Term 'Hip-Hop,' Dead at 57". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X.

External links[edit]