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Funky 4+1 was the first rap group to appear on national television

February 14, 1981 –– Valentine’s Day 1981, marked the first time a hip-hop group appeared on national television.

Blondie’s Deborah Harry was the host and musical guest on the Valentine’s Day 1981 season- six episode of Saturday Night Live. She sang covers of Teddy Pendergrass’ “Love TKO” backed by the SNL house band and Devo’s “Come Back Jonee.” joined onstage by Blondie guitarist and boyfriend Chris Stein and drummer Clem Burke. Introducing them as “among the best street rappers in the country” and “her friends from the Bronx.” she then brought out the Funky 4+1 to perform “That’s the Joint.

Watch the Funky Four Plus One (featuring Sha-Rock) at the 11 minute mark.

Blondie’s guitarist, and Deborah’s then-boyfriend Chris Stein told Wax Poetics contributing editor Andrew Mason, “They let us pick a musical guest to be on with us,” he said. “The people on the show were so nervous about them doing it. I remember trying to explain to them how scratching worked. Trying to verbalize what that is for someone who has no idea, it’s really difficult.” and “they wound up going on with a tape.” 

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