Today in 1979, the Sugar Hill Gang dropped their smash hit “Rapper’s Delight,” which would change the face and sound of hip hop culture forever. The track was a commercial banger, putting rap music on the map for mainstream audiences, and paved the stepping stone for future artists that would be part of the genre. Here is a tribute to one of hip hop’s biggest hits to date.
Read more on “Rapper’s Delight” on the following pages.
The song’s success
The song was not just a huge hit in U.S. hip hop, but it grew to be an international sensation. Recorded in just one take, Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien came together to perform the track that was originally written by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. It was the start of something amazing for hip hop culture.
The song’s controversy
There was actually some controversy surrounding “Rapper’s Delight,” as all of the members of Sugar Hill Gang were unable to perform together, since Sylvia Robinson had ownership of the name “Sugar Hill Gang Records.” On top of it, the reputation of the group was tarnished when it was discovered that Big Bank Hank had unauthorized use of Grandmaster Caz’s rhyme book. They continued to receive a lot of criticism in the years following due to these controversies.