Friday, February 20, 2015

Reminiscing About Sugar Hill Gang's "Rappers Delight" (Part I - Videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part series about the 1979 record "Rappers Delight".

Part I provides information about Sugar Hill Gang and their now classic record "Rappers Delight". A link to that record's lyrics (long version) is also provided in this post. Part I also showcases two sound files and videos of Sugar Hill Gang's performances of "Rappers Delight" as well as a bonus video of Sugar Hill Gang performing with the Disco group Chic. The bass line for Chic's 1979 record "Good Times" was recreated for "Rappers Delight" (and for many other records from multiple music genres.)

Click for Part II of this series.

Part II of this series provide selected comments from the viewer comment thread of Example #2 of the videos/sound files that are showcased in Part I. These featured comments focus on bloggers' reminiscence about the "Rappers Delight" record.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the Sugar Hill Gang and to Chic for their musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the producars and publishers of these videos.

"Jan 5, 1980:
The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" becomes hip-hop's first Top 40 hit

Hip hop's roots as a musical phenomenon are subject to debate, but its roots as a commercial phenomenon are much clearer. They trace back directly to January 5, 1980, when the song "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 hop—MCs rapping, DJs mixing and scratching, B-Boys break-dancing—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 neighborhoods like the South Bronx and Harlem.

Those were the settings in which founding fathers of hip hop like Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and DJ Kool Herc were busy making their names while the crowds at Studio 54 danced away the last days of the disco just a few miles to the south. Meanwhile, it was a businesswoman from New Jersey who put the two trends together to give birth to an industry. Her name was Sylvia Robinson, formerly a singer and later the owner of a small record label called All Platinum. 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 friend Big Bank Hank from an Englewood, New Jersey, pizzeria, and Master Gee and Wonder Mike from the surrounding neighborhood. This was on a Friday. Sylvia named the newly formed trio after the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, chose Chic's disco smash "Good Times" as a backing track and scheduled studio time for the following Monday.

What happened between that Friday and Monday is a subject of some controversy. It involves Big Bank Hank borrowing his lyrics almost wholesale from the notebook of Harlem MC Grandmaster Caz, whose name appears nowhere on the credits or royalty checks for "Rapper's Delight." What happened on Monday, however, was straightforward and 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."
"Rappers Delight"'s beginning lyrics are:
"I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
To the hip hip hop, a you don't stop
The rock it to the bang bang boogie
Say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie
The beat"...
Click for the full lyrics to "Rappers Delight"

Example #1: Sugarhill Gang - "Rapper's Delight" | Official Music Video | 1979 | HD

UniversalIndependent, Published on Mar 29, 2014

Sugarhill Gang performing "Rapper's Delight" released in 1979. Enjoy!

Example #2: The Sugar Hill Gang - Rapper's Delight ( HQ, Full Version )

Kevni, Uploaded on Oct 20, 2010

The title says it all, enjoy the music. :)
Music: "Rapper's Delight (7" Single Version)" by The Sugarhill Gang

BONUS VIDEO: Chic & Sugarhill Gang - GoodTimes & Rappers Delight

asticot7, Uploaded on Feb 19, 2009

This completes Part I of this series.

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