While it was not the first single to include rapping, it is generally considered to be the song that introduced hip hop music to audiences in the United States and around the world (and the very first full-length rap song, which featured rapping parts throughout the entire song, unlike the first single). And for that reason, many refer to Rapper’s Delight as the first official rap song regardless. The song is ranked number 251 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and number 2 on VH1‘s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. It is also included in NPR‘s list of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. It was preserved into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2011. Songs on the National Recording Registry are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
The song also notably includes musical parts from Chic’s “Good Times”, resulting in band members Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards suing Sugar Hill Records over copyright; a settlement reached allowed the two to receive songwriter credits.
The song was recorded in a single take. There are three versions of the original version of the song: 14:35 (12″ long version), 6:30 (12″ short version), and 4:55 (7″ shortened single version).