What was the first rap song to hit no. 1?

What was the first rap song to hit no. 1?

As a genre, we like to think of rap and hip-hop as relatively new. In fact, most people point to a specific moment — a 1973 party in New York City featuring DJ Kool Herc — when hip-hop was born. 

But the roots of rap go back much further than that. Spoken word poetry from the ‘60s and rhymes spoken over jazz music in the ‘40s only came after some say rap was already starting with blues music of the 1920s. Others point to the West African griot tradition, where for centuries poets have been tasked with keeping histories through oral tradition, with narratives often spoken rhythmically over drums and other instruments.

Then you have the 1980s, where all of this history eventually led to a cartoon cat rapping alongside Paula Abdul. Thank you, ‘80s. 

Today rap songs have become as strong a part of pop music as any other genre, but it wasn’t that long ago that rappers were still trying to break into the mainstream. What was the first rap song to hit no. 1 on the Billboard charts?

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