Run-DMC‘s Reverend Run – real name Joseph Simmons – has paid tribute to hip-hop producer Larry Smith, who has passed away at the age of 63.
Run took to Twitter earlier today (December 19), writing: “Rip to the greatest hip hop producer of all times…. Larry Smith. Produced my biggest and most significant hits..”.
New York born Smith got his start in music working as a session player, contributing bass guitar to Kurtis Blow’s 1979 song ‘Christmas Rappin”. It was Blow who introduced Smith to Def-Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, and Smith then began working with Simmons’ brother’s band, Run DMC.
Russell and Smith co-produced Run DMC’s debut single ‘It’s Like That’ in 1983, using drum machines rather than a live band creating a new hip-hop sound. They also worked on the group’s pioneering 1984 self-titled debut album and 1985’s ‘King Of Rock’, before Rick Rubin began working with the band. Jam Master Jay of the group was shot and killed in 2002 at the age of 37.
Smith had been ill for a number of years after suffering a stroke. His death was announced by rap DJ Combat Jack.