Celebrating 75 years of American...rap music?

"Listen close, I don't want you to miss
none of this here story, 'cause it goes like this..."

Yeah, yeah, KRS-One. The Bronx may be the birthplace of hip-hop music, but some of its precious "blueprint" appears to have come from the rugged suburbs of Virginia. That's right, Virginia. It was in the Norfolk suburb of Berkley that the gospel music act known as the Golden Gate Quartet was formed in the 'durrty' 1930s. Negro spirituals were this crew's specialty, but they were famously known for rocking the mic with a trademark brand of toe-tapping gospel, marinated in the secular styles of jazz, blues, pop and rap -- decades before rap even had a name! And to my ears, the Golden Gate Quartet's 1937 cover/remix of the Arthur Collin's song "Preacher and the Bear" seems to be one of the earliest and best examples on wax of a familiar sound that would come to revolutionize music four decades later, with the release of Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Yowza! Talk about old school.

Submitted for your approval ... "Preacher and the Bear."

[Press-N-Play®] Golden Gate Quartet – Preacher and the Bear
[Press-N-Play®] Golden Gate Quartet – Mockingbird

Shout outs to Word Is Bond for the heads-up, and to the ever reliable Archive.org for an even better version of this song, as well as others by the Golden Gate Quartet.

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