Please excuse me if some of this week’s reviews are short. I was so mentally exhausted after listening to these 10+ minute songs that I could only write a few curt sentences about most of them.
I am, of course, familiar with this touchstone of early rap, but had only ever heard the shortened single version. I expected the full-length, fifteen minute version to be padded with lots of musical whitespace: spare beats and samples.
Nope. This is legitimately a quarter hour of Sugarhill Gang rapping. A lot of it is the typical boast-rhymes from the era. But there’s some weird stuff in there: There’s a brag about seducing a reporter who raps right back at him, and an anecdote about a dad whose advice is “But whatever ya do in your lifetime / Y’never let a MC steal your rhyme.”
It occasionally gets more insane from there. There’s a verse about food poisoning, and another about how the rapper has been seducing women since he was seven years old. Ultimately, it’s hard to blame anyone who opts for the four minute version, which cuts the song off before it wears out the welcome. All mixes of the song include the iconic scat rapping:
I said-a hip, hop, the hippa, the hippa
To the hip hip hop-a you don’t stop the rock
It to the bang-bang boogie, say up jump the boogie
To the rhythm of the boogie, the beat
Bonus points to the song for providing the center of an engaging moment of Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!: A bunch of cheesy dudes building chemistry by rapping this, karaoke-style, together.