One of the most prolific songwriters of disco and dance music, Niles Rodgers, is responsible for over 40 #1 singles, including classic records by Sister Sledge, Chic, Madonna, David Bowie and INXS, as well as more recent hits in collaboration with Daft Punk, Avicii and other EDM producers. Nile appears in this video at Canadian Music Week about where and how he first heard “Rappers Delight,” which samples his classic Disco hit, “Good Times” and inspired generations of Hip-Hop artists to riff off of breaks from other artist’s records.
As a young DJ growing up in the 80’s, I used to do exactly what Nile talks about. Bring turntables and a mixer out to the street or set up a boombox and blast the music so my friends could breakdance on a sheet of linoleum we’d put down in a parking lot or basketball court. It was the early days of Hip-Hop and we had no idea both Good Times and Rappers Delight would spark a new genre that is now a multi-billion dollar global business.
In an era before sampling became popular, “Rappers Delight” was one of the first controversial records that pitted musicians against DJs and studio producers. After some discussion back and forth after learning about the record, Niles was credited with a co-songwriter nod, which now appears in the liner notes of re-releases.
Here’s the original. Listen for the break at 3:05, where it just breaks down to the bassline, kick drum and clap.
Now, here’s Rapper’s Delight in its entirety, which mostly consists of that break and the Sugarhill Gang rapping over it.