Art Carney, Hip Hop Pioneer

Saturday night was my annual Christmas party, and as I usually do, I threw an assortment of Christmas compliations into the CD player to serve as the evening's soundtrack. When this track came on, one of my friend's asked if it was some kind of 1940's rap. I've heard this song a lot over the last several years, but his question inspired me to try and track down exactly where it came from. Turns out that in 1954, Art Carney released a single on Columbia called "Santa And The Doodle-Li-Boop," and this song was the b-side (you can hear the a-side at Musical Fruitcake). Becuase it predated Clarence "Blowfly" Reid, Fatback, and the Sugar Hill Gang, you could make the argument that Carney released the world's first rap record.

Art Carney - "Twas The Night Before Christmas" (mp3) from Jingle Bell Swing

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It sounds like Will Smith copied Art's style on this for the theme of "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".
I could hardly believe that the dog Will Smith go away with this.
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