Pillars of Hip Hop: MC-ing

In the late ’70s rappers (deejays speaking rhymes over rhythmic breaks) began to attract attention from musicians outside the Bronx, and even outside their own African-American and Latino communities, such as Debbie Harry of the punk/New Wave band Blondie and members of the British band The Clash. As rap music moved from the Bronx Streets to the Manhattan mainstream, record producers became eager to bring this music to a wider audience (or, as some may say, cash in on it). At just this time a fledgling New Jersey-based label called Sugar Hill Records pulled together a group of MC’s (MC=”master of ceremonies”) into an entity that became known as The Sugarhill Gang. The Gang’s three rappers–Wonder Mike, Big Bank Hank and Master Gee–were not experienced MCs who hadcome up through the street party ranks, but they sure put together one catchy tune; in 1979 the Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became the first rap song to become a radio hit. In this video we watch Sugarhill Gang go for it at the Beat Club.

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