Song Stories

“Rapper's Delight”

Sugarhill Gang | 1979

"I said, a hip-hop, a hippie, a hippie to the hip-hip-hop." And with that, rap hit American radio for the first time in 1979. The song that opened the floodgates from everyone from Public Enemy to Jay-Z featured, as Rolling Stone described it, "raps about bad food instead of boasting." However trite lines about bad fried chicken might seem, it can't diminish the impact of the song. Sugarhill member Wonder Mike said he believes the song was a success because of its innocence. "It wasn't too heavy," he said. "It wasn't the message that was years later. It wasn't bash the police, that was years after that. What I wanted to portray was three guys having fun."

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The Pack | 2006

Berkeley, California rappers the Pack made their footwear choice clear in 2006 with the song "Vans." The track caught the attention of Too $hort, who signed them to his imprint. MTV refused to play the video for the song, though, claiming it was essentially a commercial for the product. Rapper Lil' B disagreed. "I didn’t know nobody [at] Vans," he said. "I was just a rapper who wore Vans." Even without MTV's support, Lil' B recognized the impact of the track. "God blessed me with such a revolutionary song… People around my age know who really started a lot of the dressing people are into now."

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