RAPPER’S DELIGHT: HIP HOP’S FIRST TOP 40 HIT EVER

41 years ago today, The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became the first hip hop single ever to reach the Billboard top 40.
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On this date in 1980, The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became the first hip hop single ever to reach the Billboard top 40.

Prior to the success of “Rapper’s Delight”, hip hop was little known outside of New York City, and little known even within New York City by those whose orbits were limited to Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. The basic elements of hip hip—MCs rapping, DJs mixing and scratching, B-Boys breakdancing—were all in place by 1979, but you could not walk into a record store in Times Square and buy a hip hop album. Hip hop was something you had to experience live, in clubs and at parties in neighbourhoods like the South Bronx and Harlem.

It was a businesswoman and an owner of All Platinum Records from New Jersey, Sylvia Robinson, who put two trends together to give birth to an industry. After hearing a DJ rapping over records in a Harlem club, she set her son Joey to the task of finding someone who could do the same thing on tape. Joey recruited his friends “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, “Wonder Mike” Wright, and “Master Gee” O’Brien. This was on a Friday. Sylvia named the newly formed trio after the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, chose Chic’s “Good Times” as a backing track and scheduled studio time for the following Monday.

What happened on Monday was revolutionary: the making of a record that began, “I said a hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie …” and ended up changing the course of music history.”Rapper’s Delight” is number 251 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and number 2 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.

_________

Featured image via The Guardian.
Text: History, Wikipedia.

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Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.
Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.

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