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    Rapper's Delight ( 1979 )
    Here I Am / Rapper's Reprise / Bad News / Sugar Hill Groove / Passion Play / Rapper's Delight

    Born Sylvia Vanderpool, March 6th, 1936 in New York. Which would have made her 43 when she ushered in the hip-hop era, helping create the first breakthrough top 40 rap song. 'Rapper's Delight' uses the Chic song 'Good Times' to create its groove. One reason it was popular actually, as disco was still a decent memory in the minds of many. Sylvia had become fascinated by local rap music 'Block Parties', where MCs would showcase their talents, often swapping mix-tapes, people in the audience would tape such events. Although 'Rapper's Delight' is not actually the first Rap single, it's the first to 'go gold' and become a hit. The backing track was recorded by the Sugar Hill Records houseband. Three local rappers were enlisted to perform over the track and a hit was born. Nile Rodgers of Chic later sued by the way, the first of many such rap/hip-hop lawsuits involving copyright infringment. Anyways, this will be a short review because the album ain't all that and a bag of sugar. Half of the album is devoted to fairly ordinary rhythm and blues soul music. Often bordering on the hilarious, the likes of 'Here I Am' attempt to fly through high falsetto parts that border on parody. Only when the rap parts appear does the album suddenly sound remarkably fresh and vital.

    'Rapper's Reprise' uses another soul backing track as a bedrock for the rappers to showcase their talents and very 'dope' and enjoyable it is too, not too many whiskers behind 'Rapper's Delight' actually, but obviously lacking the same novelty factor at the time, it wasn't as big a hit song. 'Sugar Hill Groove' is a nine minute funk workout complete with rap parts, again. 'Rapper's Delight' itself hardly needs describing, other than to say this is the shorter version, not the reported fifteen minute version that really is legendary. So, the beginnings of rap music are here. The strange album release recorded for 50 cents or something ( ha! ) by the sounds of it. Right place, right time and it took a middle-aged woman to usher in the movement. Well, if it hadn't been her, likely it would have been someone else, but it's some claim to fame.

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    top of page this page last updated 14/03/07

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