I recorded the first rap song – Ambolley challenges world records
Highlife legend, Gyedu-Blay Ambolley, is challenging the Guinness Book of Records over the history of commercial rap.
According to him, he was the first man to record commercial rap music in the world, a record the reference book has given to Sugar Hill Records ‘Rapper’s delight.’
The Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 song “Rapper’s Delight” is widely regarded as the first hip hop record to gain widespread popularity in mainstream music.
The single sold over 2 million copies in the United States, grossing US$3.5 million for Sugar Hill Records.
“I recorded the first-ever commercial rap music in the whole wide world in 1973, Simigwa-Do,” he said in an interview on the KSM show.
The ‘Frafranta’ hitmaker argues his ‘Simigwa-do’ song was released in 1973 while Rapper’s delight was released seven years later.
“That is why I am challenging the Guinness book of records; somebody might have made a mistake somewhere”
“Because anything coming from Africa, they downplay it, but it is time for us to get up and challenge them,” he said.
Rap music is a genre of popular music developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans and Latino Americans.
The man Gyedu-Blay Ambolley
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley was born in the port city of Sekondi-Takoradi. The multi-talented and internationally celebrated musician has decades or experience under his belt. He is a versatile and irrepressible singer/songwriter/producer, who is credited by some to be the originator of afro rap. He exploded on the music scene with a jazzy highlife sounds called Simigwa-Do.
His interest in music dates back to age eight when he began playing with his father’s flute until he was able to teach himself how to play. His formal musical training came at the age of fourteen. The young music enthusiast continued to learn the rudiments of music from the late Sammy Lartey and Ebo Taylor.
Ambolley spent a great part of his day listening to records of musicians living in the United States. He contributes his freestyle of singing to such mentors as James Brown, Ray Charles, and Sam Cook. During the sixties, the young aspiring musician was excitingly impressed with the music her heard on the popular radio show, “Voice of America Jazz Hour.
His name has become synonymous with Simigwa music and dance since his first hit single was released in 1973. Since that hit, he has lead many bands including his own in 1979-80. His talent was not limited to Ghana; he was invited to London where he performed to standing room only crowds. Having experienced success in his own country, as well as London, it was time for the ambitious musician to test his musical abilities elsewhere. In 1988, Ambolley left Ghana for New York.