Who Rapped First? Wham!?!?!?

Thanks to an article from Cracked.com: The 5 Most Unintentionally Hilarious ’80s Music Videos, I’ve discovered a disturbing chronologically of rap music.

Wham! was a group from the early 1980s by a couple of Brits by the names of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They are probably best known for their hit song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” released in May of 1984. That was on the second album, “Make It Big”. But on their first album was a little ditty called “Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)” which was released in June of 1982. Here’s the video:

Okay, hold up. Let’s talk about the genre of ‘rapping‘:

Rapping can be traced back to its African roots. Centuries before hip hop music existed, the griots of West Africa were delivering stories rhythmically, over drums and sparse instrumentation. Such connections have been acknowledged by many modern artists, modern day “griots”, spoken word artists, mainstream news sources, and academics.


Creation of the term hip hop is often credited to Keith Cowboy, rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five…It is believed that Cowboy created the term while teasing a friend who had just joined the U.S. Army, by scat singing the words “hip/hop/hip/hop” in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of soldiers marching. Cowboy later worked the “hip hop” cadence into a part of his stage performance, which was quickly used by other artists such as The Sugarhill Gang in “Rapper’s Delight”.

This style of music didn’t go mainstream here in the U.S. until the early 1980’s…

As best as I can tell, here’s the timeline for mainstream rap…

So as far as I can tell, rap/hip-hop has its underground roots in the late 70’s and early 80’s. It’s just so crazy to see a group like Wham! appearing early in the underground development of this genre with the likes of Grandmaster Flash, The Sugerhill Gang, Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J, and Run-D.M.C.


Be Sociable, Share!