Rest In Peace Larry Smith, Run-DMC & Whodini’s Iconic Producer

Hip-Hop has lost another pioneer. Yesterday (December 18), iconic producer and songwriter Larry Smith has been confirmed dead. Smith, who was 63 at the time of his death, produced early records for the likes of Run-DMC, Whodini, Jimmy Spicer, and Kurtis Blow.

Smith’s death comes more than six years following the Queens, New Yorker’s stroke, causing a condition leaving the legend unable to speak. Smith’s career began as a session bassist and guitarist, for Kurtis Blow and the Fat Boys (Disco 3). In a topical twist of fate, Smith’s playing on Blow’s 1979 12″ “Christmas Rappin'” prompted the Harlem, New York MC and his manager, Russell Simmons, to further inquire on Larry’s musical visions—before entrusting him would the would-be future of RUSH Management’s acts.

In a partnership with Simmons, Smith would hit the studio with fledgling trio Run-DMC, producing almost all of the group’s first two albums, 1984’s self-titled effort, and 1985’s King Of Rock. Simultaneous to the Rock-inspired grit he gave DMC and Run, Smith fostering a sound in Brooklyn’s Whodini. Toying with Electro, Soul, and Pop, Smith would work with the group into the 1990s, including ’91’s Bag-a-Trix release.

By the 1990s, Larry Smith’s musical output lessened for reasons unknown. Run-DMC had worked extensively with Rick Rubin, and developed in-house abilities. Meanwhile, Whodini favored touring over the studio in the 1990s, before linking with Jermaine Dupri and So So Def, who produced much of 1996’s Six.

Born in St. Albans, Queens, Smith was living in Flushing at the time of his death.

Ambrosia For Heads extends condolences to Larry Smith’s family, friends, and many fans.

Related: Can You Feel It: Why 1984 Is Hip-Hop’s Watershed Moment (Food For Thought)