Today in Hip Hop History: September 16, 1979
Arguably the first hip hop record to ever be recorded (some claim it’s this song), The Sugarhill Gang released their smash hit single, “Rapper’s Delight,” through Sugar Hill Records in 1979. Regardless of whether or not it was the first record hip hop song, it is definitely one of the signature hip hop songs during its conception as a culture in the 1970’s. The Sugarhill Gang was from New Jersey and consisted of Wonder Mike, Big Bank Hank and Master Gee.
Amazingly, the song was recorded in just one take. “Rapper’s Delight” was produced by Sylvia Robinson from an interpolation of the instrumental song “Good Times” by Chic. It was released as a single version (3:55) and an album version(14:35) on their debut album, Sugarhill Gang. One of the beginning lines, “I said a hip hop, a hippity, a hippity, to the hip hip hop, you don’t stop” is often credited with the original conception of the term “hip hop.”
“Rapper’s Delight” topped at #36 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the U.S. Soul Singles Chart. It sold over 2 million copies in the United States alone, which earned Sugar Hill Records over $3.5 million and easily paid for the recording of their album. The song is ranked #251 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, #2 on both About.com’s and VH1’s 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs of all time and on NPR’s list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. The Library of Congress inducted “Rapper’s Delight” into the National Recording Registry in 2011, citing its”culturally, historically and aesthetically significance” to the country. The song has a warm place in the hearts of us hip hop heads here at True Too.