Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CD Review: The Best of Sugarhill Gang

1) Rapper's Delight
2) Hot Hot Summer Day
3) 8th Wonder
4) Showdown
5) Apache
6) The Lover In You
7) The Word Is Out
8) Kick It Live From 9 to 5
9) Livin' in the Fast Lane
10) Girls
11) Work, Work, The Body
Give your Smiths CD a rest and listen to a group that'll make you feel...good! Before rap became the music of jewelry, scantily clad girls, and bragging about your not-necessarily true childhood in the streets, it was 70s R&B with more talking than singing. The Sugarhill Gang didn't invent the genre, but they made it known to the mainstream...you know, white people.
Sure, their songs are dated and cheesy. But they're still much better than anything you'll hear on 94.5. "Rapper's Delight" sets the tone for the rest of this collection...skilled rhyming over textured and soulful, if a bit unoriginal, beats.
The harmonies and horns of "Hot Hot Summer Day" will make you wonder why, instead of hanging with friends outside, you're in your basement blogging. The beat takes a Latin turn with "8th Wonder". The Furious Five guest on "Showdown", the cheesiest rap battle of all time.
Then, we get perhaps the corniest song of all, "Apache", or, as you may know it, "Jump On It!". Big Bank Hank brags of being a chief, sandwiched by borderline racist chants and wails. But the song is just so dance-able that we forgive it.
Thus is the rest of this disc. Decades later, it's still great dance party music. Today's rappers should pay their dues to...and take some tips from...the group that paved the way for 'em.
****1/2 out of five


  1. Damn, youtube doesn't let me watch videos anymore. I'll see if I can buy..er..download those songs, but in the meantime I will continue listening to "How Soon Is Now"

  2. You haven't lived till you've heard Kevin (and Pat) Holleran's version of Apache. Holy Shit... Next time you see Kevin, ask him about it.


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