“Rapper’s Delight” is perhaps the longest hip-hop track ever made but is also the first commercially successful single in the hip-hop world. Sung by the Sugarhill Gang, a hip-hop group from New Jersey consisting of three men: Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien and Henry “Hen Dogg” Williams.
The track lasts for 14 minutes and 34 seconds long. It samples the beat from 70’s group “CHIC”’s infamous track “Good Times”. CHIC’s Nile Rodgers actually threatened legal action when he heard an early version of “Rapper’s Delight” (which consisted of bassist Bernard Edwards bass line in “Good Times”) in a nightclub in New York, the DJ telling him that he had bought the record that day. Both Rodgers and Edwards are now marked as co-writers in the track. A large portion of the track also uses stanzas from Grandmaster Caz (Curtis Fisher), who didn’t get any credit or money for the song’s success at the time, and Caz admits to the song sending him to sleep the first time he heard it.
The music video was uploaded to YouTube in August 2015, on their Sugarhill Records channel. It is only 6 minutes long (which is the medium version of the song, as well as the short version and the original almost 15-minute long version), and is a live performance of the band singing and dancing to the track. As of May 2019, it has almost 6.4 million views and over 62,000 likes.
Release Date: 16th September 1979
Songwriter/s: The Sugar Hill Gang, Sylvia Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards, Grandmaster Caz
Producer/s: Sylvia Robinson
Label/s: Sugar Hill
Music Video Release Date: 1979, uploaded to YouTube on the 24th August 2015.
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Accolades: The track hit the charts in multiple countries after it was released: #37 in Australia, #1 in the Netherlands, #36 in the US Billboard charts, #3 in the UK Singles charts, #1 in Canada, #18 in New Zealand and many other countries. It received double Platinum certification in the US, Platinum in Canada, Silver in the UK and Gold in Spain. “Rapper’s Delight” is #251 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list, #2 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs” and is also in the NPR’s list of the “100 most important American musical works of the 20th century”.