Monday, 14 March 2011
32: Sugarhill Gang, “Rapper’s Delight” (no.3, 1979)
Steal any bassline from a Chic track, and you can’t go wrong, really. The first gold single by a hip-hop act, though it was clear UK audiences still weren’t quite sure what to make of it all: I can understand singles-buyers being more comfortable with Blondie’s “Rapture” - an assimilation of freestyle form by a long-established (and, it has to be noted, entirely Caucasian) act - but it’s simply unfathomable that the Gang’s magnificent seven-inch follow-up “Apache” never charted over here.
“Rapper’s Delight”, of course, remains as fresh and inspirational as ever, a tune to win everybody over: whether grandmas and Adam Sandler sceptics (as in The Wedding Singer), and Chic’s Nile Rodgers, who threatened copyright action on first encountering the track in a New York nightclub, only to later declare it “one of [his] favourite songs of all time”. (On a related note, I used to cower every time I was subjected to Las Ketchup’s novelty smash “The Ketchup Song” (no.1, 2002) until I realised the chorus was a Hispanic-nonsense of the “Rapper’s Delight” refrain.) An indisputable party favourite that delivers everything that bassline promises: good times.