Remembering Rappers Delight-30 Years Ago It Was Born


Remembering Rappers Delight-30 years Ago It Was Born

by Davey D

Sugar Hill Gang came to life 30 years ago

Sugar Hill Gang came to life 30 years ago

With all the sudden deaths that have affected us this year-from Michael Jackson to Roc Raida to Mr Magic to local KPOO radio legend Clarence ‘Swig’ Swiggins its been hard to sit back, catch a breath and notice some of the landmark dates that have impacted our culture. My boy Bruce Banter from hit me up to remind me that today was the 30th anniversary of Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang.. Wow that’s a long time…

I’m not sure of the exact date if it was October 13th 1979, but I do recall when I first heard the song it was definitely in the fall of 1979.  I think almost everyone who was around at that time has a ‘This is how Sugar Hill Gang’ impacted me story. 

I fondly recall, that Rapper’s Delight re-energized what appeared to be a dwindling culture at least as far as the emceeing/rap aspect was concerned. Prior to SHG, I recall going to parties and cats would be on the mic rapping and rapping and rapping all night long. Some groups had nice routines. Others tried to put structure into what they were doing, but for the most part, many of those parties had dissolved into cats just having massive freestyle sessions on the mic to the point that it was overkill. The block parties as I recall were dying out and many of the more established acts had moved to the clubs. If you went to a jam, gone were cats flowing on the mic nonstop all night long. Groups would do a set and although they didn’t have records, each act, whether it was the Cold Crush Brothers, the  Crash Crew or Funky 4 Plus 1 More all had signature routines that folks went to go see.

The summer leading up to the release of Rappers Delight was interesting because, I recall hearing stories about how icons like Grandmaster Flash had moved on to ‘blending’ records and playing at discos versus being at parties cutting breaks and beats.  Chic’s Good Times which is what helped propel Rappers Delight was a massive hit and anyone who even thought about rapping loved flowing over the long Niles Rodgers bass laden break.

Also that summer I recall the Fatback Band’s joint ‘King Tem III Personality Jock. It was a cool novelty record, but dude sounded nothing like the emcees who you heard on tapes or saw at the early jams. He sounded like a radio disc jockey. Years later, we found out that the rap was a throwback to the rapping and rhyming that was around before Hip Hop as we know it.  Black radio DJs always rhymed-People like Jocko henderson and DaddyO are a couple that come to mind.  Many of these jocks did so as they would introduce songs.  So while King Tem III struck a chord, it didn’t shake things up the way Rapper’s Delight did  a few months later.

In my mind Hip Hop was kind of dying until Rappers Delight emerged and then all hell broke loose. The possibility of being able to make a name for yourself and reach the stars via recording a record got everyone back to writing rhymes and taking a renwed interest in emceeing. 

The other thing I remember was that hardly anyone had ever heard of the Sugar Hill Gang. There was initial confusion because we all knew Sugar Hill was a section in Harlem,  but one of the rappers in the song Big Bank Hank was calling himself Casanova Fly. There were only two people who used that name Casanova. One was Grandmaster Caz  of the Cold Crush and the other was a ‘hardrock’ cat named Tiny who headed the Casanova Crew over on Webster Ave in the Bronx.. A lot of cats thought it was him rapping , which caused confusion  because why use the name Sugar Hill when he was up in the Bx and not Harlem. ?  It was just a matter of time before we all found out that SHG was a crew that was put together and the Casanova references was due to Hank borrowing Caz’s rhyme books.  I will post up the interview we did with Caz where he breaks all this down.. Its an interesting situation. All this lead to a couple of other questions

1-Why them and not use some of the more established, better known crews like Flash or Cold Crush or Theodore and Fanstatic Romantic 5?

2-Why use the word ‘rap’? Prior to the release of ‘Rapper’s Delight’, what became known as rap was emceeing or rhyming. Rap was what you did when you were hollaring at a female.

In anycase Rappers Delight was the song that let the world know what was occuring in New York and subsequently people all over the planet jumped in the fray and added their own seasoning to the mix…. At the same time it also represents the beginning of a culture being diluted and overtly influenced by a music industry which was dying at the time.  Folks forget the music industry had raped a soulful music expression that was popular in the clubs and completely watered it down to a commercialized ‘disco form’.  In 1979 while Rappers Delight was blowing also had alot of people running around and tagging on walls ‘Disco Sucks’.  The industry needed somethinfg to help it bounce back. Rappers Delight wasn’t the answer in 79, the person who saved the industry was a cat named Michael Jackson, but thats another story.

Happy birthday Sugar Hill Gang and Rappers Delight.

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Jasiri X: What is Peace? (Not Another Hate Letter to Obama)



“What’s Peace?”-This Week With Jasiri X-Episode 21 is commentary about the meaning of peace and the audacity of giving out a “Peace Prize” in a world so violent. This Episode was Produced Pittsburgh’s own legendary super producer Black Czer and Directed by X-Clan’s Paradise the Arkitech

The Audacity of the Peace Prize

by Jasiri X
Jasiri-225This isn’t another hate article about how President Obama doesn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, in fact the Republican Party just reinforced how even the slightest success from Barack drives them completely crazy. But I do have to say that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama is….ironic. Even he looked kinda embarrassed accepting it.
I mean the Brother’s first act after his celebratory weekend was to order 13,000 additional troops to Afghanistan . And if that wasn’t ironic enough he received the Peace Prize on the weekend where all over America there were celebrations and parades, dedicated to one of the most violent men that ever lived, Christopher Columbus. Which begs the question can America even exist without following through on her founding principles of murder, rape and genocide?
Also ironic is the President’s adopted home town of Chicago is arguably the most violent city in the United States, as witnessed by the brutal beating of Derrion Albert, one of the many young black children that have been murdered far to prematurely. And we haven’t even mentioned police brutality or how this countries corporate corruption has lead to intense poverty and the lack of health care reform which lead to even more violent deaths.
But of course none of these problems are strictly American- nor caused by President Obama, the entire world is a cruel wicked place were violence, corruption and evil dominate. So to even award a Peace Prize when the world isn’t getting better (it’s getting worse) to me is crazy. It’s like giving a movie an Oscar before it’s even finished casting.
Now, I know why they gave it to President Obama and I appreciate it, because I feel the same way. Like us they want to see hope and change turn into concrete policies that can produce well…hope and change. Really we all need to get more active in pushing our President towards REAL change. It’s like we thought because he won the presidency so easily and convincingly he would do the same when it came to reforming the government.
Yes, it was cool to see President Obama win the Nobel Peace Prize, but ultimately it’s symbolic. Real peace means mobilizing against powerful lobbys to prevent a impending war with Iran and further escalating one in Afghanistan. It also means organizing in our communities to prevent our children from shedding each others blood. Until we can stop the tide of rising violence worldwide, nobody deserves a Peace Prize.