F*%$ peanut butter and jelly. People should use the analogy “goes together like hip hop and sneakers” instead of that tired peanut butter and jelly comparison. I really have nothing against PB&J. I actually like it. I do think hip hop and sneakers is a much more important combination, though. That said, things could be a hell of a lot different.
26 years ago today, Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” became the hip hop song to become a top 40 hit. The track was written by legends Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of Big Apple Band/Chic fame and thanks to Wonder Mike, Master Gee and Big Bank Hank, it became a hit. Rapper’s Delight landed at 36 on the top 40 in the US.
Looking back, we should all be thankful; very, very, thankful. Thankful that bell-bottoms, tied shirts, and platform shoes didn’t come to represent hip hop. Instead, we have sneakers. The Sugarhill Gang didn’t start off on the sneaker tip but over the years it’s been apparent they, like the rest of us who fell in love with hip hop, also fell in love with sneakers.
Give a listen to the original 14+ minute version of “Rapper’s Delight” above and check out a few photos of the group below. And be thankful we’re not all wearing crop top tees today.
Nick Engvall is a sneaker enthusiast with over 15 years of experience in the footwear business. He has written for publications such as Complex, Sole Collector, and Sneaker News, helped companies like Eastbay, Finish Line, Foot Locker, StockX, and Stadium Goods better connect with their consumers, has an addiction to burritos and Sour Patch Kids, and owns way too many shoes for his own good.