Hip-Hop is mourning the death of rap pioneer Lovebug Starski who passed away Thursday in Las Vegas after suffering a heart attack at age 57.
Lovebug is commonly regarded as one of the forefathers of the hip-hop genre, alongside legends like Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, and has been credited with coining the phrase "hip-hop".
Chuck D is among the stars paying tribute to Lovebug, real name Kevin Smith, on social media and in interviews on Friday.
The Public Enemy star, 57, told hiphopdx.com, "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 added, "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."
DJing at New York's Disco Fever Club in the 1970s, Lovebug played a key role in taking hip-hop mainstream by releasing singles under the name Little Starsky in the late 1970s and early 80s.
Lovebug's stage name was inspired by the American television series "Starsky & Hutch," which premiered on ABC in 1975.