A film about Northwest hip-hop from 1984
In 1979, not only did the first-ever rap hit single (“Rapper’s Delight”) from New York sweep the nation, but that was a particularly special year for those in Seattle because the Sonics won the NBA Championship.
At the turn of the decade, Seattle would-be rappers began to experiment with this new art form. David Perry who was successful in the Seattle disco scene released his comedy rap single “I’m Little Ray Rapper” in 1981. 1982 saw the release of Teleclere’s proto-rap jam “Ultra Groove.” Emerald Street Boys (no doubt influenced by the 1979 smash “Christmas Rappin” by Kurtis Blow) created their own Seattle hit with “Christmas Rap” in 1983.
Then in ’84 came Charles Thompson & The Record Band. Thompson captured the excitement felt by fans of the Seattle Supersonics, and this track is a paean to the squad. The track is based around a simple chorus chant of “Let’s go Sonics all the way/And be the champs of the NBA” while The Record Band lays down a funky melody mixed with some spicy drums.
CT wrote rap verses about the Sonics players at the time, and the names will be familiar to any Seattle sports fan of this era. Downtown Freddy Brown. Jack Sikma, Dennis Johnson, and of course Gus Williams. The track has a James Brown feel to it, with tight arrangements and vocals almost shouted or grunted in excitement. The lyrics generally are fun little phrases and details from basketball lore. An example: “They say one man can’t win a game/It’s team ball that brings everybody fame.” Clearly, this is one of the earliest rap songs to emerge from Seattle, and it is a holy grail for record collectors all over the world. (Written by Novocaine132.)