‘I’d heard this word hip-hop and just started going: “Hip-hop hippie to the hippie to the hip-hip hop.”’ Rapper’s Delight is a hip-hop song released in September 1979 by The Sugarhill Gang, and produced by ex-Mickey and Sylvia member Sylvia Robinson.
When I was in 10th grade in New Jersey, I went to a party and heard someone talking rhythmically through a mic. “That’s rapping,”Guy ‘Master Gee’ O’Brien, songwriter-rapper told The Guardian. “That’s what they’re doing in New York.” I had started DJ-ing to make some money and added rapping to my repertoire.
At this point, it was something we did at parties. Nobody thought of it as commercial. Then Sylvia Robinson, founder of the hip-hop label Sugar Hill, decided to make a record, and looked for talent in New Jersey, where she was living. Big Bank Hank rapped and made pizzas, so she auditioned him in front of the pizza parlour. I rapped in her car, then Wonder Mike was next. “I can’t choose,” she said. “So I’ll put you all together.”
Chic’s Good Times was great to rap to. The tempo was right and the bassline was high. That became the basis of Rapper’s Delight. The intro came from Here Comes That Sound Again by a British group named Love De-Luxe. There were no samplers at the time, so the backing track was laid down by Sugar Hill signees Positive Force, who played the Chic rhythm, which we rapped over. I was unknown, but figured if I rapped about “foxy ladies and pretty girls” it would get me more attention. It worked. My line about being the “baddest rapper” was wishful thinking, though.
Read the full story from the Guardian.
While it was not the first single to include rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that introduced hip hop music to audiences in the United States and around the world. The song is ranked 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. It is also included in NPR’s list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. It was preserved into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2011. Songs on the National Recording Registry are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
The song was recorded in a single take. There are three versions of the original version of the song: 14:35 (12″ long version), 6:30 (12″ short version), and 4:55 (7” shortened single version).
PHOTO CREDIT: By Russell James Smith – https://www.flickr.com/photos/russelljsmith/451422470/in/set-72157600058365046, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36750697