Song Lyric Sunday | “Rapper’s Delight” – Sugarhill Gang

Song Lyric Sunday banner

Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is “Cool/Groovy/Hip/Nifty/Radical/Swell.”

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When you hear the opening lines of “I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie, to the hip hip hop and you don’t stop…” you don’t have to be a Boomer or old head to recognize  Rapper’s Delight, the first commercially successful hip-hop single. It is, and will continue to be, one of the most influential songs in hip-hop. Its beat, which samples the bass from Chic’s Good Times, has been sampled countless times, and many of the song’s phrases have become ingrained in hip-hop culture.

Rapper’s Delight would have been the first rap record to be certified gold (more than 500,000 copies sold), but label head Joe Robinson wouldn’t pay for an RIAA membership; instead he made his own plaques and gave them to artists. Dan Charnas quotes him in his book, The Big Payback:

Why should I pay two percent of my gross profits just to send an accountant to look at my books?

Though not the first rap gold record, it is reported to be the best-selling 12-inch single of all-time by Hip Hop journalist Jeff Chang in his book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop.

FUN FACTS

  • Grandmaster Caz, who wrote many of Big Bank Hank’s rhymes didn’t get a dime (or any type of credit) for the song’s success at the time.
  • Rapper’s Delight peaked at number 36 in January 1980 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, number 4 on the U.S. Hot Soul Singles chart in December 1979, number 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart in January 1980, number 1 on the Dutch Top 40, and number 3 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • The Sugar Hill Gang appeared on the syndicated Soap Factory Disco Show in late 1979, and their performance later became the song’s official music video. The group’s performance on the Palisades Park-based program demonstrates the significant overlap between early hip hop and disco of the late 1970s.

I was still in my teens when Rapper’s Delight topped charts and was the go-to dance favorite in the clubs and at every house party. Each generation does its own thing and rap/hip hop have changed, but as this cut celebrates it fortieth anniversary this year, it’s still a “party ova’ here” whenever it’s played.

Enjoy!

See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!

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Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Rapper’s Delight

Compiled from Genius Lyrics, Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube.

8 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “Rapper’s Delight” – Sugarhill Gang

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