The Sugarhill Gang

Rapper's Delight

Composed by Bernard Edwards / Nile Rodgers

Song Review by

The unofficial debut of hip-hop on vinyl, the novelty hit "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang proved to be much more than a one-hit wonder (for the music, if not for the group). The single was masterminded by Sylvia Robinson, a soul singer (one-half of Mickey & Sylvia) and owner of the fledgling Sugar Hill Records from Englewood, NJ. After hearing the sound blowing up in New York during the late '70s, she conceived the idea of issuing a single based on the music. Her son Joey began rounding up talent, beginning with Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson, who he'd heard rhyming over a rap by Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers. According to published accounts, after Robinson auditioned Jackson outside the pizzeria he was working at, the other two future members of the group -- Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien -- saw the display and asked to audition as well. Within a few days, the newly christened Sugarhill Gang entered the studio and recorded a series of lengthy raps over a session band's recreation of the recent disco hit "Good Times" by Chic. By the summer of 1979, "Rapper's Delight" was all over R&B radio, to the consternation of many of the music's pioneers in the Bronx and Brookyln, who'd never heard of the New Jersey trio with (comparatively) wack rhymes -- some lifted wholesale from other MCs. Still, the single hit the Top 40 in America and reached the Top Ten in such far-flung locales as England, Israel, South Africa, and Canada. Twenty years later, dozens of rappers go platinum each year, and the hip-hop industry has steadily eclipsed rock as the number one style of music among youth, if not the entire populace. "Rapper's Delight" was not the first rap record -- the credit goes to "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by the funk band Fatback, released just months before -- but more than any other, the single launched the hip-hop craze and introduced the world to the major musical innovation during the last two decades of the 20th century.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Sugarhill Gang 1980 Rhino 5:05
No Image 1987
Various Artists
Jive
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Sugar Hill
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Priority Records
Masters of Rap [Unidisc] 1991
Various Artists
14:27
Street Jams: Hip-Hop from the Top, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
Rhino 14:25
Old School Rap, Vol. 1 [Thump] 1994
Various Artists
Thump Records 14:16
Old School Jams, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
SPG 4:48
Sugar Hill Story: To the Beat Y'All 1994
Various Artists
Sequel 14:31
From Hip to Hop, Vol. 2 1995
Various Artists
Orchard Lane 7:08
The Best of Sugar Hill 1995
Various Artists
Hot Productions 6:11
Fox Hunt [Original Soundtrack] 1996
Original Soundtrack
Rhino
The Best of Sugarhill Gang [Rhino] 1996 Sequel 7:05
Street Jams: Hip-Hop From the Top, Vol. 1-4 1996
Various Artists
Rhino
Dance Classics Gold [Alex] 1996
Various Artists
Alex 3:36
Mega Disco 1996
Various Artists
Wotre Records
Hip Hop Don't Stop [Solid State] 1997
Various Artists
Virgin
The Sugar Hill Records Story 1997
Various Artists
Rhino/Warner Bros. 14:37
Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 2: The Birth of the Rap Record 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 7:10
Maximum Rap 1997
Various Artists
14:32
Everybody Wants Some 1997
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 7:07
Hot Dance Classics, Vol. 1 1997
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 5:00
Groove Is in the Heart [Renaissance] 1997
Various Artists
Renaissance Records 4:02
Rapper's Delight & Other Old School Favorites 1998
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 5:06
Get Dancing [Castle] 1998
Various Artists
Castle Pulse
Best of Breakdance & Electric Boogie 1998
Various Artists
ZYX 4:01
Everybody Dance: Remixed Dance Classics 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 6:50
Millennium Party: Funk 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 5:03
The Source Presents: Hits from the Vault, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
Polygram / Polygram 4:54
The Best of Sugar Hill Records 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 4:16
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 14:31
The Best Rap Album of All Time 1998
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 3:57
De Pre Historie: De Jaren 80, Vol. 2 (1980) 1998
Various Artists
Eva 3:39
The Showdown: The Sugarhill Gang vs. Grandmaster Flash 1999 Rhino 7:07
Sugar Hill Club Classics 1999
Various Artists
Sequel 14:36
Old School Jams: The History Lesson 1999
Various Artists
SPG 4:48
Back to the Old School: Rapper's Delights 1999 Sanctuary 3:55
Ultimate Old School Classics: Rappaz 'N Da Hood 1999
Various Artists
Cleopatra 3:57
Millennium Party [Rhino Box] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 5:03
Rap Mania: Roots of Rap 1999
Various Artists
X-Ray 2:50
Best Hip Hop Anthems Ever 1999
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 7:01
Cream Of Disco 1999
Various Artists
Repertoire 4:00
Rap Mania: The Roots of Rap [Video/DVD] 2000
Various Artists
Cleopatra / X-Ray
Old School Rap, Vols. 1-4 [Box Set] 2000
Various Artists
Thump Records
The Greatest Hits [Sequel] 2000 Sequel 7:09
New Millennium Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 5:03
Ultimate R&B Collection, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
WEA International 5:27
Mega DJ, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:58
New York Knicks Collection 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City 6:27
New York Knicks: Their Music 2001
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Alphabet City 6:27
Sexy: Rap 2001
Various Artists
Import 3:59
Blues & Soul, Vol. 6: 1978-1979 2001
Various Artists
Connoisseur 4:01
Mega Disco Funk 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:59
Spirit of Hip-Hop 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 7:03
25 Years of Disco 2001
Various Artists
Unidisc 3:17
One Hit Wonders: Hard Two Get Hits [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
One Hit 4:52
Say It Loud! A Celebration of Black Music in America [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 5:04
70's [Import] 2001
Various Artists
Repertoire 4:00
80's Soul Weekender 2001
Various Artists
Import 3:58
Rap Attack [Simply The Best] 2001
Various Artists
Simply The Best (Netherlands) 6:32
Roadblock 2001
Various Artists
Import 7:01
Party Explosion!!! 2001
Various Artists
Sony/Columbia 3:55
Tom Joyner Presents: The Old School Mix Returns 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 4:55
Sounds of the Seventies [Castle] 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 4:01
Mastercuts: Bar Social, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Mastercuts 6:29
Bust a Move: The Best of Old School 2002
Various Artists
Flashback Gold / Rhino 5:03
Electro Breakdance: Real Old School Revival 2002
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 7:07
Back to the Old Skool: Hip Hop 2002
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 7:01
Rappers Delight 2002
Various Artists
Universal International 7:07
The Essentials 2002 Rhino / Warner Strategic Marketing 5:04
Flashback: The Seventies 2002
Various Artists
BMG International 4:00
Comprehensive School Classics 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 4:00
Electro Beatbox 2002
Various Artists
Deca Dance (UK) 7:01
Sugar Hill Hip Hop Box Set 2003
Various Artists
BMG / Castle Communications 7:08
Kangaroo Jack 2003
Original Soundtrack
Hip-O 4:15
Slammin': The Ultimate Rap Hits 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 5:04
Pure Urban Essentials: 40 Hot Street Beats, R&B and Hip Hop 2003
Various Artists
Warner Strategic Marketing 5:01
80's Groove [Decadance] 2003
Various Artists
Deca Dance (UK) 3:59
Supa Funky, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Universal International 7:01
Best Singles of All Time, Vol. 2 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Boogie Nights: Classic Disco Anthems 2003
Various Artists
Party People 7:08
Whoomp! Here It Is: Hip-Hop Hits 2003
Various Artists
Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 6:50
50 Greatest Floor Fillers 2003
Various Artists
Avanti Records
70s Groove 2003
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:57
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Ex Works
More Platinum Disco 2004
Various Artists
WEA/Warner
Old School Jams [SPG Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
SPG 4:54
Rap Mania Live 2004
Various Artists
Music Club International Records
The Hip Hop Box 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 7:11
R&B Rap Classics 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 6:33
History Of HipHop [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:57
VH1: I Love the '70s 2004
Various Artists
Rhino 5:04
Ultimate Hip*Hop: 30th Anniversary Collection 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 5:06
Hip Hop: The Collection 2004
Various Artists
Polystar/Universal 3:54
Death Disco LTD: The Club Soundtrack 2004
Various Artists
Discotheque 3:56
Complete 80's Soul Weekender 2005
Various Artists
Warner Special Marketing 7:06
Rhino Hi-Five: The Sugarhill Gang 2005 Rhino 7:07
Best Disco on the Dancefloor 2005
Various Artists
Disky 4:51
Disco Favourites 2005
Various Artists
Disky 4:50
Gold Seal Presents 80s Funk Classics, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
Universal Distribution
Ultimate 16: Ultimate Hip Hop 30th Anniversary 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 5:06
I Love Music 1975-1979: No More Heroes 2005
Various Artists
Disky 4:50
Hip Hop Essentials, Vol. 1 2005
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 14:34
One Hit Wonders 2005
Various Artists
Universal International 5:05
Roots of Rap [Weton] 2006
Various Artists
Black Box
The Best of the 80s [Madacy Box Set] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 5:05
Die Hit Giganten: Tanzsongs 2006
Various Artists
Sbm Records 3:59
Hip Hop: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O / Universal / Universal Music 7:14
Hip Hop Classics [Madacy] 2006
Various Artists
Madacy 6:50
Extended Seventies: The Dawning of the 12 Inch Era 2006
Various Artists
Optimum 14:32
Hip Hop: A Tribute To Urban Culture 2006
Various Artists
Sony BMG 7:09
Old School Jams, Vol. 6 2006
Various Artists
SPG 6:32
The Definitive Groove Collection: Sugar Hill Records 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 14:31
Retrohits: Dance Hits, 1970-1990 2006
Various Artists
Music Brokers 3:33
Roots of Rap [Bonus Track] 2006
Various Artists
Music Avenue 2:53
Old School Nation, Vol. 3 2006
Various Artists
Hi-Bias Records 7:09
Disco 70's & 80's "Kaufleuten" 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / Sony Music Distribution
Hip Hop Essentials [Box Set] 2006
Various Artists
Tommy Boy 14:34
The Greatest 80's Hits of All Time 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 5:05
Hip Hop Classics [Universal] 2007
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 6:44
Club 80s [Universal] 2007
Various Artists
UMVD 3:56
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Hit Club
Greatest Ever School Days 2007
Various Artists
Greatest Ever / Union Square Music 4:47
The Best in Breakdance and Electric Boogie 2008
Various Artists
ZYX Music 4:01
Greatest Ever! Disco 2008
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:58
Baby Loves Disco 2008
Various Artists
Universal Distribution / Universal Music TV 3:55
Ultimate 80s Collection [Collectables] 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 5:05
Hot Party Hits 2008
Various Artists
Hörvergnügen 4:52
Rapper's Delights [DVD] 2009 Charly Records
80's Box: The Ultimate Compilation Of Eighties Hits 2009
Various Artists
Music Brokers 3:34
Old Skool Hip Hop: Greatest [DVD] 2009
Various Artists
ZYX Music
Push It! Classic Party & Dance Tracks 2010
Various Artists
UMTV / Universal Music 3:56
Disco Fever 2010
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:55
Ministry of Sound Anthems: Hip-Hop II 2012
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:58
Latest & Greatest R&B Hits 2013
Various Artists
USM Media 4:45
Pure Grooves 2014
Various Artists
Rhino / WMTV 4:11
R&B: The Ultimate Collection 2014
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection
Latest & Greatest: Hip-Hop Anthems 2014
Various Artists
Union Square Music
80s Mix 2014
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:55
Latest & Greatest Kids Party: Turn it Up! 2015
Various Artists
USM Media
Rapper's Delight [Ministry of Sound] 2015
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:55
The Seventies Album [Rhino] 2015
Various Artists
Rhino 3:57
Everybody Wants Some!! [Music from the Motion Picture] 2016
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
100% Tubes de L'été 2016 2016
Various Artists
Wagram
RFM Party 80 [2017] 2017
Various Artists
Sempre Musica
20 Dance Hits of the 70's
Various Artists
Bell 3:34
70-Tals Klassiker
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
CAPS: Campus and Pub Songs
Various Artists
Mood Media Entertainment 5:04
Downtown Funk
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:55
Greatest Ever R&B
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 4:45
No Image
Various Artists
Greatest Ever
Hip To The Hop
Various Artists
Universal Music 3:57
La  Plus Grande Soirée 80's [2008]
Various Artists
Wagram Records
Latest & Greatest Feel Good Anthems
Various Artists
USM Media
Latest & Greatest R&B Party
Various Artists
Union Square Music
Latest & Greatest: House Party
Various Artists
Union Square Music
Latest & Greatest: R&B Summer
Various Artists
USM Media 4:45
Millennium Hits 1970-1979: Pop
Various Artists
Disky
Nostalgie Disco Fever
Various Artists
Wagram
Office Party: Work Hard, Party Harder!
Various Artists
Made II Measure
Old School Hip Hop Jams: Old School Jams, Vol. 6
Various Artists
Spg Music Ltd. 6:32
Rewind: The 80s Album
Various Artists
Inspired Records / Ministry of Sound 3:59
Roller Rink Rewind
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / Universal Music / Warner Music 5:00
Simply Seventies
Various Artists
Simply
No Image
Various Artists
BMG / Castle Communications 7:07
No Image
Various Artists
Umc (Universal Catalogue) 3:57
The  Message: The Roots of Rap
Various Artists
BMG / BMG / Castle Communications 14:35
Top of the Pops 1975-1979
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 3:55
Ultimate Office Party!
Various Artists
Sony Music 7:06
Whata' Wonderful One Hit Wonders
Various Artists
Warner Music 7:07
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