Eddie Cheeba, New York DJ thought to be a pioneer of hip-hop, dies at 67

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Eddie Cheeba, a New York-area DJ who’s thought to be a founding father of hip-hop, has died. He was 67.

Def Jam founder Russell Simmons introduced Cheeba’s dying Tuesday on Instagram, crediting the DJ as a supply of early inspiration. Simmons noticed Cheeba, whose actual identify is Edward Sturgis, rap over instrumental tracks at a Harlem membership in 1977.

“It wasn’t a classy rhyme movement by present requirements,” Simmons, now a controversial determine going through quite a few allegations of sexual misconduct, recalled in Carrie Golus’ 2012 biography, “Russell Simmons: From Def Jam to Tremendous Wealthy.”

Simmons stated that Cheeba’s music made him really feel like he’d “simply witnessed the invention of the wheel.” The hip-hop mogul added that the efficiency made him notice he needed a profession in hip-hop music.

Simmons saved up together with his inspiration, writing on Instagram in October, “PRAYERS UP The good eddie cheba is within the hospital.”

Then this week, Simmons posted a video eulogizing his pal, saying that Cheeba was a part of a DJ trio — alongside DJ Hollywood and Lovebug Starski — who had been integral within the creation of recorded hip-hop. Lovebug Starski died in 2018 on the age of 57.

“The general public didn’t know and his household by no means bought the satisfaction of realizing how integral a component he was within the development of hip-hop,” Simmons stated within the video.

He later added that with out Cheeba, together with DJ Hollywood and Lovebug Starski, “There could be no hip-hop data.”

Within the caption accompanying the video, Simmons wrote that although individuals “didn’t compensate or have fun him correctly in life,” he hoped they might “look again and promote his legacy for the present and future generations.”

The Nationwide Hip-Hop Museum, which was name-checked in Simmons’ video, did simply that in its remembrance, acknowledging Sturgis’ contributions to hip-hop. “RIP DJ Eddie Cheeba who was a pioneering DJ in New York within the Nineteen Seventies, thought of to be the primary membership DJ,” stated the caption on the museum’s Instagram put up.

The museum’s put up provided extra of the historical past lesson, saying that Cheeba was additionally an inspiration for rap stalwart Kurtis Blow.

“Cheeba is credited with inspiring Def Jam Recordings founder, @unclerush to pursue a profession in hip-hop when Simmons heard Cheeba carry out in Harlem in 1977. Kurtis Blow took his identify imitating Cheeba on the suggestion of Russell Simmons, copying the sample from Eddie Cheeba as ‘blow’ was a pressure of energy as ‘cheeba’ was slang for marijuana.”

Different tributes got here from hip-hop competition Rock the Bells, Parish Smith of EPMD (who shared a video of Cheeba proclaiming his declare to fame as an “originator”) and others.

Regardless of his affect pushing hip-hop ahead, Sturgis launched just one report throughout his profession, the 1979 rap-disco hybrid “Lookin’ Good (Shake Your Physique)” on Tree Line Data.

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