Producer: Cliff Hall
Album: Drag Rap (1986)
Hip-hop is often seen as a zero-sum game, where history is written by the winners and everyone who doesn't make smash hits gets swept under the rug. But missed connections and accidental innovations are constantly pinging around the periphery of the mainstream, proliferating sounds and ideas that eventually reach a tipping point.
That circuitous path is best exemplified by a pivotal song like "Drag Rap," a Dragnet-themed 1986 novelty single by the Queens group Showboys that failed to make much of an impression on New York during the Run-D.M.C. era. Instead, the song took on a second life in the South, where the track's distinctive xylophone loops, frenzied snare fills, and "alright!" shouts became building blocks of the New Orleans Bounce sound. —Al Shipley