A History of the "Apache" Breakbeat

Sugar Hill Gang "Apache (Jump on It)" (1981)

Album: 8th Wonder
Label: Sugar Hill
Producer: Sylvia Robinson, Jigsaw Productions

Though the Bongo Band's definitive "Apache" came the same year as the battle of Wounded Knee, the Native American aspects of "Apache" tend to be, let us say, secondhand. That's even truer of the Sugar Hill Gang's "Apache (Jump on It)": "Tonto, jump on it! Kemosabe, jump on it! Custer, jump on it!" the trio hollers cheerily over the Sugar Hill house band's tin-pot rendition of the Bongo Band arrangement, hooting in their best fake-powwow. Not a great look; nevertheless, it's the first rap record to cement the Bongo Band's version as a crucial precursor.

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