In Rolling Stone‘s countdown of The 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time, Philadelphia’s Questlove offers his memory of hearing “Rapper’s Delight” for the first time.
Me and my sister, Donn, were sneaking a listen of the local soul station while washing dishes when an army of percussion and a syncopated Latin piano line came out of my grandma’s JVC clock radio – what appeared to be Chic’s “Good Times.” How was I to know that my world would come crashing down in a matter of 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .
I said a hip, hop, the hippy to the hippy/To the hip hip hop, you don’t stop. . . .
The next night, I was prepared, with a prehistoric tape recorder in hand and a black-and-white composition notebook. My boy Aantar became my agent that week, scheduling performances of the song in exchange for snacks or hand-holding with girls in gym class. “Rapper’s Delight” turned this future high school band geek into a superstar for the month of October 1979.
He concludes: “The best hip-hop songs aren’t blueprints – they are calls to action, reminders that you can start a revolution in three minutes.” [Rolling Stone]