Kidd Creole, whose real name is Nathaniel Glover, was walking in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday near where he worked security and maintenance when he passed by 55-year-old John Jolly, police said.
Jolly said something that offended Glover, and they argued, said the official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. The fight escalated until Glover stabbed Jolly and then walked off, authorities said.
The official said it was an argument that got out of hand.
Police later found Jolly and thought he was passed out, but then noticed him bleeding. He was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
Jolly, a registered sex offender who was homeless, served time for sexually assaulting and attacking a woman. He had been staying at a shelter in the Bowery and had at least 16 prior arrests.
Glover, 57, a lyricist with the pioneering group, was being held pending an arraignment on a murder charge. It wasn’t clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the charges.
Glover was arrested in 2007 for possession of a gravity knife and had three other arrests dating back to the 1980s.
Video shows a handcuffed Glover, his gray hair pulled back into a tightly wound ponytail, being escorted out of a police precinct Wednesday night.
Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is best known for their 1982 rap song, “The Message.” The group was formed in the late 1970s in the Bronx.
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, the first rap act to be inducted into the hall.
Associated Press researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.