Lovebug Starski (Kevin Smith) was born on May 16, 1960 in the Bronx, New York and began working with various local DJs in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He began his career as a record boy in 1971 at age 11 when Hip Hop culture and music began to make its first appearance in clubs. He and his friend DJ Hollywood would rock 140th street block parties, and Lovebug was one of the first artists to both rap and DJ. According to B-boy Mr. Wiggles, he was also known for coining the phrase “Hip Hop Shoowop Da Bop.”
Lovebug Starski eventually became the house DJ at the Disco Fever Club in 1978 and also DJed at Renaissance and Harlem World, a club known for being a famous MC battleground. His popularity grew beyond the boroughs of New York when he was featured in 1984’s Beat Street, a film about graffiti, B-boying and DJing that has become a cult classic in the Hip Hop world. Lovebug Starski and his friend DJ Hollywood also became known as some of the first pioneers to use the word “Hip Hop” to describe the newfound culture.
Though he was known for being a DJ, Lovebug Starski began rapping and recording in the early 1980s. His first single “Positive Life” was recorded for Tayster Records in 1981, and his 1983 songs “You Gotta Believe” and “Live At The Fever Disco” on Fever Records were both produced by Larry Smith and Kurtis Blow. “Do the Right Thing” and “Live At the Fever Part 2” were released in 1984 also on Fever Records. Lovebug also recorded for the Rappin’ soundtrack in 1986 for Atlantic Records, and his first solo album House Rocker was released on Epic/CBS Records later that same year. It featured a single called “Amityville (The House on the Hill)” which referenced The Amityville Horror, a 1977 film based on paranormal activities that surrounded the DeFeo family murders. It became the most successful single of his career reaching #3 on the UK Singles Chart and hitting the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.
Lovebug Starski’s early recordings are scarce, and there is little information about his personal life, but it is said that he and legendary DJ Brucie B worked together at the Rooftop Roller rink in Harlem in the 1980s. After serving five years of jail time in the late 1980s, Lovebug Starski began DJing again with DJ Hollywood in the 1990s. He made a comeback with Tha Veteranz, Butchie B and DJ Hollywood live at PS1 on August 13, 2005. His record “Live At The Disco Fever” has been sampled by a variety of artists including The Beastie Boys (on their 1989 song “B-Boy Bouillabaisse”), Kid Rock (on 1999’s “Bawitdaba”) and Common (on his 2008 song “Universal Mind Control.”) Lovebug Starski is also famous for being one of the legendary DJs mentioned in the first verse of the late Notorious B.I.G.’s song “Juicy.