It's infinitely debatable who was Hip-Hop's first, true "superproducer," but Larry Smith's name often comes up when that distinction is discussed. A bass player with a truly gifted ear, Smith was the producer for and played bass on Kurtis Blow's early records, alongside his bandmates in the instrumental trio Orange Krush. Orange Krush would play a major role in the development of Russell Simmons-managed acts under his Rush Associations label, which put them squarely in the mix with Run-D.M.C.
Orange Krush became Run-D.M.C.'s backing band and Larry Smith became the groups producer, helming classic albums like their self-titled debut and it's platinum-selling following King Of Rock. At the same time, Smith was becoming rap's most in-demand producer: he'd work on albums by The Fat Boys and Whodini, producing hits like "Freaks Come Out At Night" and "One Love." Smith is a true innovator, taking his traditional musical ear, his bass bonafides, and pushing rap records into new sonic territory that set the stage for Def Jam, Rick Rubin and the rest of the 1980s.
Here are some of our favorite jams from the legendary Larry Smith.