Founding father and ‘mastermind’ of hip-hop dies at 67

ICONIC New York DJ Eddie Cheeba has died at age 67.

Cheeba, who is credited as one of the musicians who spearheaded the hip-hop genre, died on Tuesday.

DJ Eddie Cheeba died on Tuesday at age 67

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DJ Eddie Cheeba died on Tuesday at age 67Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage
Eddie Cheeba, born Edward Sturgis, was renowned in New York City's Harlem neighborhood

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Eddie Cheeba, born Edward Sturgis, was renowned in New York City’s Harlem neighborhoodCredit: X

A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

The DJ, born Edward Sturgis, came up in New York City‘s Harlem neighborhood, where he rapped over instrumentals in nightclubs in the mid-1970s.

Cheeba performed regularly at clubs like Small’s Paradise, Charles Gallery, Hotel Diplomat, and Club 371.

The Harlem native was remembered for his raspy voice and was dubbed the original crowd rocker.

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Cheeba would pump up nightclub-goers by yelling, “Who makes it sweeter?” they would respond, “Cheeba, Cheeba, Cheeba!”

Among his most influential tracks was the disco rap song Looking Good (Shake Your Body).

His wordplay and rap style influenced the formation of a group out of Long Island called Public Enemy.

Russell Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam Records, paid homage to Cheeba, calling him a groundbreaking rapper.

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“One more legendary ground breaking rapper has passed and the hip hop community was too un educated about their own history to give him the proper flowers that he deserved,” Simmons wrote in an Instagram post.

“FOR THE RECORD It was eddie cheba or dj hollywood and if u couldn’t get one of those…? definitely go get a smaller venue, make sure u reach out and get love bug starsky (rip) and unfortunately charge less.

“But that was the reality .// it was clearly without debate in that order of citywide stardom …they were the 3 biggest stars and they were the reason we GOT TO MAKE RAP RECORDS.

“As a promoter of hip hop promoting all 5 boroughs im 100000% sure that before there was a recording art when there was only performance artists eddie cheba was a major mastermind of hip hop ../.

“To all the rich rappers and “moguls” please note you are standing on his shoulders!!!!! GIVE THE MAN HIS [flower] RIP THE GREAT LEGENDARY EDDIE CHEBA.”

In a follow-up video, Simmons again credited Cheeba, DJ Hollywood, and Lovebug Starski, saying there would be “no hip-hop records” without the trio.

Cheeba’s death comes after Simmons disclosed in an Instagram post last October that the famed DJ had been hospitalized with a stroke.

Simmons told the website AllHipHop that Cheeba had memory issues but was stable.

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