RZA talks “Rapper’s Delight”

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Pitchfork has added another installment to their 5-10-15-20 Series, this time with Wu-Tang Clan leader the RZA, who’s certainly no stranger to numerology. The series invites musicians to talk about the songs that inspired them in their lives, taken over five year intervals. We especially enjoyed RZA’s answer to what music he was feeling as a 10 year old tyke:

“Rapper’s Delight,” Sugar Hill Gang

“When I was 10 years old, I was definitely in tune. When “Rapper’s Delight” first came out, I didn’t hear it. I was already writing my own little raps and shit. It came out when I was about nine. But I remember a kid in the neighborhood knew I was trying to do little raps of my own, and we used to always walk up to each other and rap to each other. He walked up to me, and he was like this: “After school, I take a dip in the pool, which is really off the wall / I got a color TV so I can see the Knicks play basketball.” And I was like, “Oh shit! The boy’s good!” I didn’t know he stole it from the song. I guess he heard it before I heard it.

Then, when I heard it, I realized that the guy stole the song. That song was a big song for me– that song and another song called “The Adventures of Super Rhymes” by an artist named Jimmy Spicer. Oh, “Super Rhymes” man, that song! First of all, me, my brothers and my cousins, we would sing the whole “Rapper’s Delight” all the way through. Then, the other song, “The Adventures of Super Rhymes”– yo, to me, that motherfucker killed it. He went through so many different raps through the whole song. It was an adventure, man. I mean, I remember playing that song over and over on my mom’s record player, man. Over and over, memorizing the whole song, singing the whole song. I was writing; I had lyrics of my own to help me understand the storytelling of the lyrics. Even “Rapper’s Delight”, you know, he went to his friend’s house to get some food. Or Big Bank Hank talking about he’s schooling Superman, coming up to Lois Lane and convincing her to quit Superman. Those lyrics was hard in my head as a little kid. The imagination of those artists helped inspire my imagination.”

Read the whole thing here.

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