In July 1981, Eight years after DJ Kool Herc’s party in the Bronx which marked the birth of Hip-Hop, Hip-Hop, “the overnight phenomenon” received it’s very first National Television Coverage on ABC News’ 20/20. The segment was called “Rappin’ to the Beat” and was hosted by Steve Fox, who credited Blondie’s “Rapture” for bringing it to a wider audience. Steve Fox described Hip-Hop as personal, sexy and energetic.
The 10-minute broadcast showcased Hip-Hop’s deep African American roots and b-boys and b-girls (which was coined by DJ Kool Herc) . Steve Fox predicted that rap would become a cultural force because “it lets ordinary people express ideas they care about, in language they can relate to, put to music they can dance to. Not everyone can sing, but everyone can rap.”
Before ABC New’s hip-hop special there had been select showcases of rap on other national television shows: Kurtis Blow who appeared on Soul Train in October of 1980, making him the first rapper to appear and perform on National Television and Funky 4 + 1 who were musical guests on NBC’s Saturday Night Live in February of 1981 (both of whom are featured in the special).