Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” Added to Library of Congress

Yesterday Sugarhill Gang’s tune “Rapper’s Delight” was added to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. The song has been credited with being the first Hip-Hop single creating what has become a dominating genre in music for two decades. The excerpt from the Library’s webpage reads as follows:

“The Sugarhill Gang’s infectious dance number from late 1979 might be said to have launched an entire genre. Although spoken word had been a component of recorded American popular music for decades, this trio’s rhythmic rhyming inspired many future MCs and rap artists. The album version of “Rapper’s Delight” is an epic 14 1/2 minute salvo of irreverent stories and creative wordplay. The song dates from hip-hop’s infancy. As such, it does not address subject matter that has given rap music both positive and negative notoriety, but the song’s inventive rhymes, complex counter-rhythms and brash boastfulness presage the tenets of hip hop. “Rapper’s Delight” also reflects an early instance of music sampling, drawing its bass line and other features from Chic’s 1979 hit “Good Times.” As a result of an out-of-court settlement for copyright infringement, songwriting credits for “Rapper’s Delight” include that song’s composers, Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards, as well as Sylvia Robinson and the Sugarhill Gang (Michael Wright, Guy O’Brien, and Henry Jackson).” (source)

Other songs inducted in the 10th anniversary of the National Recording Registry include Prince’s “Purple Rain”, the late Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love”, Barton Hall Concert by The Grateful Dead, and the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” just to name a few. Each year 25 songs are selected to be preserved and you can nominate songs on the National Recording Preservation Board website.

– Josh


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