Much like this may have been many people’s introduction to the phenomenon that was The Jackson 5, it’s very possible that if you caught this episode when it first came out, it was the first time you ever heard rap music. Even though hip hop was around for years before this song came out, this was the first big commercial song of the genre. Everything else was either only locally known around the New York area or was maybe only a little rapped section in an otherwise traditional funk or disco song. This performance is actually from a couple years after the song first came out, but there’s no way there weren’t at least a few people unaware of the emergence of this genre that caught this episode of Soul Train and got their world flipped upside down. Pretty historic.
The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight
And it’s cool that Don even had these dudes on the show in the first place. Don wasn’t even particularly happy about disco taking over the funk scene, much less hip hop emerging as the dominant black pop music a few years later. But he still recognized its significance and power and supported it on his show out of his feeling of dedication to the community and his listeners. I admire that. At least he tried.