Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” Honored in Library of Congress

Talk about “Rapper’s Delight.”

The legendary Sugarhill Gang’s classic, “Rappers Delight,” was amongst the 25 recordings that were inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry on Wednesday (May 23).

The registered recording reads as follows:

“Rapper’s Delight,” Sugarhill Gang (1979)
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).”

From its opening lines, Sugerhill’s 1979 classic, “Rapper’s Delight,” grabbed listeners’ ears with: “I said a hip, hop, the hippie – the hippie/To the hip hip-hop, and you don’t stop/The rock it to the bang-bang, boogie say “up jump” the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie: the beat.”

Selections from Prince, Dolly Parton and Prince were also included as new entries in the National Recording Registry.—Mark Lelinwalla