Saturday, 21 April 2012

Sugarhill Gang - 'Rappers Delight'

There's no doubt that this record is an icon, but it's also a great example of how the line between iconic and ubiquitous is perilously thin.

Of you've only ever been a consumer of music, that's to say you've never made music or played records for money regularly, it's hard to convey the idea that even greatness can pall with repetition. There's no getting away from the fact that this record is 15 minutes of history in the making. The problem is, it's also the record that, if you're a DJ, you stick on when you need to go for a piss and keep people dancing at the same time. This record is both so ace and so long that you can start it playing, go for a piss, get a beer, return to the decks and still have plenty of time for a bit of wiki-wiki before dropping the next record, which if your playing the odds will either be Deelite's 'Groove is in the Heart' or Mantronix 'King of the Beats'.

One other personal horror I attach to this track is having experienced a karaoke version of it on a mate's stag do. I'm uneasy with karaoke at the best of times, but seeing a bunch of mates hammer this out, pissed, took the shine off it in the same way that a sheet of sandpaper takes the shine off, well, almost anything. Of course, my note-perfect rendition of Johnny Cash's 'Ring of Fire' earlier on that evening merely served to underline that a karaoke version of 'Rappers Delight' is, as the French foreign secretary said when asked what he thought of Eurodisney, 'a cultural Chernobyl'.

Mixed emotions, I guess.

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