|Single by The Sugarhill Gang|
|from the album Sugarhill Gang|
|Released||September 16, 1979|
|Recorded||Sugar Hill Studios, 1979|
|Genre||Funk, hip hop, disco|
|Length||4:55 (single version)
14:35 (album version)
|Writer(s)||Originally credited: Sylvia Robinson, Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike, Master Gee; Later credited: Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers; Uncredited: Grandmaster Caz, Alan Hawkshaw|
|The Sugarhill Gang singles chronology|
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"Rapper's Delight" is a song recorded in 1979 by American hip hop trio The Sugarhill Gang. While it was not the first single to feature rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that first popularized hip hop in the United States and around the world. The song's opening lyric, "I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip-hip-hop and you don't stop" is world-renowned. The song is ranked #251 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and #2 on both About.com's and 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. The song was also named as the Greatest Really Long Rock Song of all time by Digital Dream Door . It was preserved into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2011, calling it "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). Ten years after its initial release, an official remix by Ben Liebrand entitled "Rapper's Delight '89" was released.
In late 1978, Debbie Harry suggested that Chic's Nile Rodgers join her and Chris Stein at a hip hop event, which at the time was a communal space taken over by teenagers with boombox stereos playing various pieces of music that performers would break dance to. Rodgers experienced this event the first time himself at a high school in the Bronx. On September 20, 1979 and September 21, 1979, Blondie and Chic were playing at concerts of The Clash in New York at The Palladium. When Chic started playing "Good Times", rapper Fab Five Freddy and the members of the Sugarhill Gang ("Big Bank Hank" Jackson, Mike Wright, and "Master Gee" O'Brien), jumped up on stage and started freestyling with the band. A few weeks later Rodgers was on the dance floor of New York club Leviticus and heard the DJ play a song which opened with Bernard Edwards' bass line from Chic's "Good Times". Rodgers approached the DJ who said he was playing a record he had just bought that day in Harlem. The song turned out to be an early version of "Rapper's Delight," which also included a scratched version of the song's string section. Rodgers and Edwards immediately threatened legal action over copyright, which resulted in a settlement and their being credited as co-writers. Rodgers admitted that he was originally upset with the song, but would later declare it to be "one of [his] favorite songs of all time" and his favorite of all the tracks that sampled Chic. He also stated that "as innovative and important as "Good Times" was, "Rapper's Delight" was just as much, if not more so."
According to Oliver Wang, author of the 2003 Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide, recording artist ("Pillow Talk") and studio owner Sylvia Robinson had trouble finding anyone willing to record a rap song. Most of the rappers who performed in clubs did not want to record. It is said that Robinson's son heard a rapper in a pizza place, and the rapper was persuaded to come to a studio and record someone else's words while "Good Times" was played.
Chip Shearin said in a 2010 interview that at age 17, he was visiting a friend in New Jersey. The friend knew Robinson, who needed some musicians for various recordings, including "Rapper's Delight". Shearin's job on the song was to play the bass for 15 minutes straight, with no mistakes. He was paid $70 but later went on to perform with Sugarhill Gang in concert. Shearin described the session this way:
The drummer and I were sweating bullets because that's a long time. And this was in the days before samplers and drum machines, when real humans had to play things. ... Sylvia said, 'I've got these kids who are going to talk real fast over it; that's the best way I can describe it.'
There's this idea that hip-hop has to have street credibility, yet the first big hip-hop song was an inauthentic fabrication. It's not like the guys involved were the 'real' hip-hop icons of the era, like Grandmaster Flash or Lovebug Starski. So it's a pretty impressive fabrication, lightning in a bottle.
"Rapper's Delight" peaked at #36 in January 1980 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, #4 on the U.S. Hot Soul Singles chart in December 1979, #1 on the Canadian Singles Chart in January 1980, #1 on the Dutch Top 40, #3 on the UK singles chart, and #2 on VH1's top 100 hip-hop songs of all time (in Australia it sank without a trace). Reportedly it became the first hip-hop single to go diamond (5 million copies), but it should be noted that Sugarhill was one of many small independent labels that were not willing to let outside accountants go through their books; thus, it has never been certified by the RIAA. In 1980 the song was the anchor of the group's first album The Sugarhill Gang.
It was the first Top 40 song to be available only as a 12-inch extended version in the U.S. Early pressings (very few) were released with a red label, with black print, on Sugarhill Records, along with a 7" 45rpm single (which is very rare). Later pressings had the more common blue label, in orange colored "roulette style" sleeves, while even later pressings were issued in the more common blue sleeves with the Sugarhill Records logo. In Europe, however, it was released on the classic 7-inch single format on French pop label Vogue, with a shorter version of the song. It was this 7" single that reached number one in the Dutch chart.The song ranked #248 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
A little known fact about the history of Rapper's Delight is that it was originally the work of Grandmaster Caz, as can be heard throughout the lyrics. The references to Casanova are in fact references to Grandmaster Caz, as it was originally his work.
Charts and certifications
Weekly chartsIllegal chart entered Argentina|1
"Escape" by Rupert Holmes
|Canadian Singles Chart
January 26, 1980 – February 2, 1980
"Coward of the County" by Kenny Rogers
"I Have a Dream" by ABBA
|Dutch number-one single
February 2, 1980 - February 16, 1980
"Crying" by Don McLean
Grandmaster Caz writing controversy
Big Bank Hank once managed Grandmaster Caz (Casanova Fly) of The Cold Crush Brothers. Hank's verse was originally written by Caz as evidenced by his first line: "I'm the C-A-S-A-N-O-V-A and the rest is F-L-Y". Sugarhill and Hank never gave any money or credits as a songwriter or co-writer to Grandmaster Caz.[self-published source?][original research?]
- The cast of the film CB4 (including Chris Rock) released a cover on the film's soundtrack
- Def Squad (Redman, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray) released a cover in 1998 on the album El Niño
- Keller Williams released a cover version of the song on his 2004 live album Stage.
- Southside Allstars (Kano, Sway, Skibbadee among others featured) released as a BBC 1Xtra exclusive.
- Brazilian rapper Gabriel O Pensador used the same beat in his song "2345meia78" in 1997.
- Hidden Beach Recordings project Unwrapped Vol. 4 presents an instrumental version of the song.
- Italian rapper and dj DJ Lugi used the same beat in his song "Boloboogie".
- Italian rapper Flaminio Maphia used the same beat in his song "Rapper do vai".
- The lyrics "hotel, motel, holiday inn" are used in Newcleus's "Jam on Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)" (1983), TLC's "Switch", Pitbull's "Hotel Room Service", De La Soul's "Breakadawn", Cassidy's "Hotel", Dr. Dre's Housewife, The Wu-Tang Clan's "Starter", and Tweet's "Motel."
- The bass is sampled by Bergy in "Race Ya Home".
- Insane Clown Posse & Esham released a song "Wicked Rappers Delight" which appears on Forgotten Freshness 4. It takes inspiration from Rapper's Delight, but incorporates "Wicked" lyrics.
- The rap group, Me & My Cousin used the opening lyrics from Rapper's Delight; "Now what you are hearing is not a test, because I'm rappin' to the beat...' in their 1996 hit, Smooth.
- Beastie Boys samples the song in "Triple Trouble".
- Italian rapper and superstar, Jovanotti, covered the song for his live album Lorenzo Live - Autobiografia di una festa in 2000.
- Jamiroquai sampled the bass in club citta live concert 1993, and the name of the song appeared as same
- Ol' Dirty Bastard uses lyrics from the song in Goin' Down from his solo debut album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version.
- German trio GLS United including talk show host Thomas Gottschalk re-recorded it in April 1980 as "Rapper's Deutsch". It was produced by Harold Faltermeyer and is considered the first Rap song in German language.
- DJ Kayslay sampled the song on the track "Too Much for Me".
- Quebec, Canada rapper KenLo from Alaclair Ensemble and Movezerbe made a translation of the song named "Délice d'un rappeur" in 2007
- Rapper 50 Cent was inspired by "Rapper's Delight" to write the song "Gangsta's Delight" on his 2009 album Before I Self Destruct.
- Run-D.M.C. does a cover of Rappers Delight.
- The chorus of Las Ketchup's song The Ketchup Song is a soramimi of the chorus of Rapper's Delight.
- "'Rapper's Delight'". National Public Radio. December 29, 2000. Retrieved 2010-12-20. "The story goes that Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike, and Master Gee met Sylvia Robinson on a Friday and recorded "Rapper's Delight" the following Monday in just one take."
- "The Story of Rapper's Delight by Nile Rodgers". RapProject.tv. Retrieved 2008-10-12.
- "Nile Rodgers interviewed by Peter Paphides". Twentyfirstcenturymusic.blogspot.com. November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- The Greatest Songs Ever! Good Times
- Menconi, David (2010-03-14). "The riff that lifted rap". News & Observer. Retrieved 2010-04-19.
- "Australian-charts.com – The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Top Singles - Volume 32, No. 18, January 26, 1980". RPM. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Sugarhill Gang search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Charts.org.nz – The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Norwegiancharts.com – The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight". VG-lista. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Swedishcharts.com – The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight". Singles Top 60. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "Sugarhill Gang" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
- "The Sugarhill Gang Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for The Sugarhill Gang.
- "Sólo Éxitos 1959-2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979-1990" (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.
- Batey, Angus (2011-02-02). "Hip-hop's superstars owe DJ Kool Herc more than just respect". London: Guardian. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
- "The Evolution of Rapper's Delight". Retrieved June 20, 2008.
- Rapper's Delight on National Public Radio
- Official Music Video
- Silver jubilee for first rap hit — BBC article about the single on its 25th anniversary
- The Story of Rapper's Delight by Nile Rodgers
- The 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century - NPR