THE LEGACY OF LOVEBUG STARSKI
Updated: Feb 10
Love Bug Starski was right there at the genesis of the subculture now known as Hip Hop, before it even had a name. With his Grandmother living only 4 blocks away from the Black Spade hotbed known as the Bronx River Projects, he made friends early with architects like Kool D.J. D and Afrika Bambaataa. Starski was one of the first to D.J. and Emcee simultaneously, and even though he got his start right there at Bronx River, he also carried equipment and records for the late great Pete DJ Jones who played for a more mature crowd. The Grandmaster Flash who studied Jones and was impressed with Jones’ ability to preview records via the cue button on his Clubman mixer introduced Love Bug to Jones. Along with Keith Cowboy of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5, Love Bug is said to be one of the originators of the word “Hip Hop”. He rhythmically inserted it into his rhymes, and used it as a segue, much in the style of Wonder Mike’s intro on the Sugar Hill Gangs Rappers Delight. It was Afrika Bambaataa who later used the words Hip Hop to describe the street art form which included Djing, B-Boying (break dancing),Graffiti and Emceeing (rapping), but it was Keith Cowboy & Love Bug who are credited with the creation of the term.
Sylvia Robinson who started the first notable rap music label Sugar Hill Records attended a birthday party at Harlem World for one of her nieces and this was the first time that she heard rap music, and this is also where she formulated the idea to commit the music to record, as a way to get herself and her stable of record labels – Stang, All Platinum,Vibration and Turbo out of debt. It was the Love Bug Starski that she witnessed that night, Starski was the first Emcee to record for Sylvia. He actually rapped to the track that would eventually become Freedom by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5.
Lovebug Starski would eventually record for Fever Records (run by Sal Abbatiello who also owned and operated the infamous Disco Fever nightclub) as well as Tayster and Epic Records. He penned the title track for the soundtrack to the 80’s movie Rappin’. Lovebug Starski's biggest hit and signature song is Live At The Disco Fever produced by the late great Larry Smith.
You've Gotta Believe which he later remade was a big hit as well. In addition to being an early Dj/Emcee, Starski was also one of the first to deliver an energetic stage show, and use the entire stage when he performed. Love Bug was an extremely private and guarded person, who rarely gave interviews. Rest In Peace to one of the building blocks of the Hip Hop subculture.