The 40 Biggest Hip-Hop Moments in Pop Culture History

40. Blondie's "Rapture" is the First "Rap" Video Played on MTV

Date: August 1981

The Moment: What happens when a punk band trying to spice up its repertoire attempts to do so by adopting what New York City punk bands—let alone pop culture—rarely ventured to for its hits? You get the first rap video on MTV, in MTV's first month on the air, in their first 90-video rotation, which arrived in the form of Blondie's "Rapture," the entire coda of which is rapped by Debbie Harry. To hammer the point home, Blondie also recruited hip-hop luminaries to appear in the video with them, like Fab Five Freddy (who's name-checked in the song), Lee Quinones, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The Impact: "Rapture" came at a weirdly perfect time as it wasn't just the first video featuring rap on MTV, but was a video in MTV's first real "rotation," where it stayed for a few months. In other words, eyes from all over the country saw this young white woman doing the "hip-hop" thing.

The Upshot: At the time, it was neither an abomination nor a momentous occasion, but just a weird rock thing that was, if not amusing, then actually fairly cool. The video helped cement Blondie's place as one of the more progressive bands in contemporary rock, and set the precedent for rock embracing hip-hop (and vice-versa).

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