1979: Hip-Hop's First Year on Wax!
At number 10 we have Joe Bataan with Rap-O-Clap-O which features a vintage music video. This track mixes disco and rap and was a huge hit internationally. At number 8, we have 'Rhythm Talk' made by a radio disc jockey named 'Jocko' who after an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the United States House of Representatives in Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district, decided to make a few rap records.
At numbers 5 and 6 we have Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five who were already the number one rap group on the streets of NYC before Hip-Hop music was embraced by the music industry and they set the standard for all other emcee groups who came after them. On their first single 'We Rap More Mellow' they were falsely registered as «The Younger Generation». The second track we have by 'The Furious Five' at number 5 is the rapping extravaganza called 'Superappin' which clocks in at 12 minutes!
At #4 we have a familiar face to many, namely Kurtis Blow, who released his first single in 1979 which was a Christmas song titled 'Christmas Rappin'. Watch him perform the song live on a television show at spot number four.
At the number three spot, we have the Funky Four Plus One with 'Rappin' & Rockin' The House' which is an exciting 16-minute long jam. The group was notable for including a female rapper with MC Sha Rock.
It's widely regarded that the Fatback Band's "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" is the first commercially released Hip-Hop song. Released on March 25, 1979, about six months before the Sugar Hill Gang would release 'Rapper's Delight'. It peaked at #26 on the R&B chart and stayed on for 11 weeks.
At number 1 we have the legendary Sugar Hill Gang with 'Rapper's Delight' which was recorded on August 2, 1979, and released on September 16, 1979. According to an interview with Sugar Hill Records Executive Sylvia Robinson who co-produced the record, it was hard to find rappers who would rap on a record because they believed it was an artform best suited for live performances. Eventually, she was able to find and audition the three members of the Sugar Hill Gang. The bass line is borrowed from Chic's 'Good Times' although it was played by a live band in the studio and not sampled. Many of the early rap records used this same approach.
As a bonus, you can also watch a 1998 cover of 'Rapper's Delight' by Def Squad (Redman, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray) which has a fun music video.