November 30, 2023

By Jonathan Landrum Jr. and Gary Gerard Hamilton

related press

LOS ANGELES — Bear in mind the primary rap track you heard? A few of your favourite rappers and DJs actually do. Whereas hip-hop celebrates 50 years of life, The Related Press requested a number of the style’s hottest artists to recall their first reminiscence of listening to rap and the way the second resonated with them.

In interviews with greater than two dozen hip-hop legends, Queen Latifah Chuck D, Methodology Man, E-40 and eight others cited The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” as the primary rap track they heard. However not all have been hooked on the brand new musical type by that monitor, and their solutions reveal the sense of discovery that marked rap’s early years.

Hip-hop’s roots are traced to 1973 within the Bronx and it took a number of years earlier than rap information emerged — “Rapper’s Delight” was a significant catalyst for introducing the rap music to a much wider viewers.

Listed here are the tales of a dozen hip-hop stars who bought hooked on the style across the time “Rapper’s Delight” dominated. Partially two, one other group of legends and younger stars reminisce about connecting with rap by listening to songs by acts like Tupac Shakur, Grandmaster Flash, 2 Dwell Crew or Run-D.M.C.


As a sophomore at Adelphi College, Chuck D was about to hit the stage to carry out over the melody of Stylish’s “Good Instances” at a celebration in October 1979.

At the very least, that’s what he thought.

When he stepped behind the microphone, Chuck D heard a distinct model of the track. It saved going and going for — quarter-hour straight.

“I get on the mic to rock the home. Then abruptly, I hear phrases behind me as I’m rockin’. I lipsync. The phrases maintain going. (Expletive) are rockin’ for like 20 minutes,” mentioned Chuck D, a member of the rap group Public Enemy who created “ Combat the Energy,” one in all hip-hop’s most iconic and vital anthems.

“After it’s throughout, cats are giving me excessive kilos like ‘You went on and on to the break of daybreak dawg,’” he continued. “Again then, it’s about how lengthy you possibly can rap. I went and turned to the DJ and regarded on the purple label that mentioned ‘Sugarhill Gang ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ I used to be like ’Oh, they lastly did it.’ They have been speaking all summer season lengthy that rap information have been going to occur.”

He was surprised: I used to be, like, ‘It’s inconceivable. How might a rap be a file?’ I couldn’t see it. No one might see it. After which when it occurred, growth.”

This mixture of images reveals, high row from left, Large Daddy Kane, Chuck D, Doug E. Contemporary, Jermaine Dupri, E40 and DJ Jazzy Jeff, backside row from left, Child Capri, Lil Jon, Methodology Man, Queen Latifah, Roxanne and Too Brief. (AP Photograph)


For Queen Latifah, “Rapper’s Delight” was the primary rap track she and a whole lot of others heard and memorized the place she grew up in Newark, New Jersey. However the largest file in her world as a child was Afrika Bambaattaa and the Soul Sonic Power’s 1982 track “ Planet Rock. ”

Whereas the Oscar-nominated actor could be seen chasing unhealthy guys on CBS’ “The Equalizer,” many overlook her roots as a rapper, with hits like “U.N.I.T.Y. and “Simply One other Day.”

“It modified the sound,” she mentioned. “It’s extra of a synthesized, 808s, hi-hats. The entire sound of it was completely different. A few of hip-hop within the unique days was dwell music. It was dwell bands taking part in break information. Like ‘Good Instances’ was the beat to ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ A few of these information took precise disco information, performed the music and rhymed to them.”


Whereas heading to highschool as a seventh grader in 1979, E-40 heard a brand new rap tune on a neighborhood radio station that usually performed R&B and soul music in Northern California.

It was “Rapper’s Delight,” which interpolated Stylish’s hit “Good Instances.” That’s when he knew hip-hop was going to be part of his life perpetually.

“I used to be like ‘Ohh, that is exhausting. I’m hooked,’” mentioned E-40, who recalled the second whereas driving to Franklin Center Faculty in Vallejo, California. He and fellow rapper B-Legit used to sport the identical sort of fedora hats and large gold rope chains Run-D.M.C. carried out in.

“From then on, I liked rap. In 1979, once I first heard The Sugarhill Gang, I wished to be a rapper. I’d mess around with it. … We grew up on New York rap. All of us did. We wished to be hip-hop. We wished to breakdance. We did all of it.

“However that modified all the pieces after we heard Sugarhill Gang. Subsequent factor you already know, you’re listening to Grandmaster Flash and the Livid 5, Kurtis Blow and Roxannne, Roxanne.”


“Rapper’s Delight” was most likely the primary hip-hop track Lil Jon heard. However he turned a “tremendous fan” of the style as a center schooler in Atlanta after seeing rap teams the Fats Boys and Whodini. It was his first time seeing skilled rappers onstage.

“I might need been a fan of rap earlier than, however I had by no means been to a rap live performance. I’ve by no means seen rappers in individual,” he mentioned. “Possibly simply within the magazines. That turned me into like. … a brilliant fan of hip-hop.”

The primary hip-hop file Lil-Jon purchased was Run D.M.C.’s “Sucker M.C.’s (Krush-Groove 1).”

“I remembered my homeboy that lived within the neighborhood. I needed to undergo some woods to his home with the album,” he mentioned. “We put the album on at his home. We have been going loopy over listening to lyrics and beats.”


Roxanne Shante’s first rap expertise didn’t are available in track kind. She was launched to hip-hop via the late comedian-poet Nipsey Russell.

“He had the power to rhyme at any time,” mentioned Shante, a bunch for SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells Radio. At age 14, she turned one of many first feminine rappers to change into standard after her track “Roxanne’s Revenge” and gained extra notoriety as a member of the Juice Crew. She additionally took half in Roxanne Wars, which was a sequence of hip-hop rivalries within the mid-Nineteen Eighties.

Shante mentioned “Rapper’s Delight” was the file most dad and mom introduced into their dwelling because the “occasion track.” However in her thoughts, Russell had simply as a lot of an affect.

“That may be my first encounter with loving what would change into hip-hop,” she continued. “This fashion of getting a sure cadence, this fashion of having the ability to do these sure rhymes was simply unbelievable to me. … He was capable of freestyle all day, day by day. And that’s who I’m. That’s what I nonetheless do at present.”


It’s 1979. Too Brief was round 13 years previous. He usually listened to quite a lot of funk songs starting from the Ohio Gamers’ “Love Rollercoaster” and Funkadelic’s “Knee Deep.” Then someday at his father’s home, he heard “Rapper’s Delight” blaring via a stereo system.

“I used to be on my funk stuff, then this ‘Rapper’s Delight’ file got here out and it was like quarter-hour lengthy,” he recalled. “I’d be at my pop’s home simply bumping the loud stereo.”

As “Rapper’s Delight” gained momentum in 1980, Too Brief gravitated extra towards beatboxing. That led him to hit up the native file retailer the place he would purchase the newest hip-hop album then blasted it on his radio for anybody to listen to in Oakland.

“I needed to get a radio with two audio system. That was obligatory,” he mentioned. “I used to be the man with the radio who was hitting play going ‘You ain’t by no means heard that earlier than.’ … I had the entire room, the entire bus leaping.”

Followers, family and friends of the late rapper/actor Tupac Shakur cheer as they reveal his new star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame throughout a ceremony on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photograph/Chris Pizzello)


Listening to “Rapper’s Delight” for the primary time modified the trajectory of Doug E. Contemporary’s life.

“I keep in mind when my sister got here dwelling and instructed me a couple of man named D.J. Hollywood, who we thought-about the primary actual M.C.,” he mentioned. “She got here dwelling and instructed me a couple of rap he had. And the rap went, ‘Ding, ding, ding, ding, dong, dong, dong the dang, the dang, dang, dang, the ding dong dong. To the hip hop. …’”

Contemporary then added: “I rotated and mentioned, ‘Educate me that, present me.’ And after that, it’s been me and hip-hop since that time.”


DJ Child Capri, arguably one in all hip-hop’s most well-known DJs within the ‘90s, grew up on soul music. His father was a soul singer. His grandfather performed the trumpet. And his uncle, Invoice Curtis, was the chief of the Fatback Band — which he says made the primary hip-hop single “ King Tim III (Persona Jock) ” earlier than “Rapper’s Delight” was launched a number of months later in 1979.

Capri’s uncle gave him the chance to listen to a rap track for the primary time.

“I used to be proper there,” Capri mentioned in regards to the Fatback Band, a funk and disco ensemble who turned identified for his or her R&B hits together with “(Do the) Spanish Hustle,” “I Like Women” and “I Discovered Lovin’.” Nevertheless it was “King Tim III” that had a robust affect on him — particularly because it got here from household.

“The world thinks ‘Rapper’s Delight’ was the primary rap file, but it surely was ‘Persona Jock,’” he mentioned. “My uncle, he’s my household. He’s the one which did it. So, I’ve all the time been round it. That’s what made me be so infectious in it, as a result of I’ve seen each stage to the place I’m at proper now. I took all these issues vital to me on stage proper now. If you see me on stage, you possibly can see all these issues wrapped up in me.”


Sure, “Rapper’s Delight” was the first-ever rap track Methodology Man ever heard. However the first hip-hop track that actually resonated with him was Run-D.M.C.’s “ Sucker MCs (Krush-Groove 1 ).”

“I had by no means heard this file and I believed I used to be up on all the pieces on the time,” Methodology Man mentioned of the 1983 track, which proceeded Run-D.M.C.’s first single “It’s Like That” from their self-titled album. He mentioned “Sucker MCs” helped pave a strategy to usher in a brand new college of hip-hop artists.

“We have been on a sixth-grade class journey to Lengthy Island, and all people was singing it word-for-word,” the “Energy E book II: Ghost” actor remembered. “They should have performed that file 24 occasions on our class journey.”


Round age 12, Large Daddy Kane may not have remembered all of his homework assignments, however he actually might recite each lyric to the late Jimmy Spicer’s 1980 track “ Adventures of Tremendous Rhymes,” one in all hip-hop’s first songs recorded in a studio.

Kane heard “Rapper’s Delight” first, however Spicer’s storytelling on the 15-minute track resonated with him probably the most.

“When this track got here out, simply the way in which Jimmy Spicer was styling on them and telling the story about Dracula and a narrative about Aladdin, I believed it was actual slick,” he mentioned.


DJ Jazzy Jeff all the time had an affinity for music. However when the “Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air” star heard “Rapper’s Delight” for the primary time, he felt just like the track spoke to him like no different.

“I believe that was the primary time I felt just like the music was mine,” he mentioned. “Earlier than then, I liked the music, however the music was sort of my older brothers and sisters, and I simply appreciated it as a result of it was theirs. This was the one which any individual made only for me.”


Jermaine Dupri couldn’t have envisioned his profitable profession with out listening to “Rapper’s Delight” across the age of 10.

“I keep in mind the lyrics of the track. I keep in mind it prefer it was yesterday,” mentioned Dupri, a rap mogul who was inducted into the Songwriters Corridor of Fame in 2018. “I simply began studying the track. I by no means knew it was going to take me on this journey.”