Hip hop lost one of its trailblazing talents today. Producer Larry Smith, lauded for his work with Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow and Whodini, has died. He was 63.
According to a tweet from journalist Reggie Ossé, Smith died Thursday (Dec. 18). “Just spoke to his family,” he wrote this morning. “RIP Larry Smith, the original King of Beats who passed away last night.”
The Queens native was a pioneering figure in the hip hop history books. He contributed heavily to Blow’s music, including 1980's “The Breaks,” which became one of the first hip hop records to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.
Through working with Blow, Smith met Russell Simmons. He was later recruited to work with Run-D.M.C., producing their groundbreaking first two albums, Run-D.M.C. and Kings of Rock. In 1982, Smith signed on with Whodini and produced their sophomore album, Escape (featuring classics like "Freaks," "Five Minutes of Funk" and "Friends"), and the 1986 release Back in Black.
Several tributes to the notary producer have been rolling in on social media, including a message from Jermaine Dupri, crediting him for shaping “what you now Know as HipHop,” and Rev Run, who called Smith “the greatest hip hop producer" of all time.
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(Photo: Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect)