Fab 5 Freddy

Fab 5 Freddy  (born Fred Brathwaite; August 31, 1959) is an American visual artist, filmmaker, rapper and hip hop pioneer.  He emerged in New York’s downtown underground creative scene in the late 1970s as a camera operator and a regular guest on Glenn O’Brien’s public access cable show TV Party.  He was immortalized in 1981 when Debbie Harry rapped on the Blondie song “Rapture” that “Fab 5 Freddy told me everybody’s fly”.  In the late 1980s, Fab 5 Freddy became the first host of the groundbreaking and first internationally telecast hip-hop music video show Yo! MTV Raps.  (More from Wikipedia)
The rap section of Rapture by Blondie is not conventional rapping by a long shot; it has a stream-of-consciousness quality about it and is mostly a strange science-fiction tale about a “man from Mars” who eats cars, bars, and finally guitars.  The first line name-checks a hip hop pioneer – “Fab 5 Freddy told me everybody’s fly” – and this man later became the first host of Yo! MTV Raps, using this line as his musical intro.
*       *       *
The Blondie frontwoman comes up again in this story of the genesis of Rapper’s Delight that is taken from Wikipedia:  “In late 1978Debbie Harry suggested that Chic’s Nile Rodgers join her and Chris Stein at a hip hop event, which at the time was a communal space taken over by teenagers with boombox stereos playing various pieces of music that performers would break dance to.  Rodgers experienced hip hop event the first time himself at a high school in the Bronx.  On September 20, 1979, and September 21, 1979Blondie and Chic were playing concerts with the Clash in New York at The Palladium.  When Chic started playing ‘Good Timesrapper Fab 5 Freddy and the members of the Sugarhill Gang (‘Big Bank Hank’ JacksonMike Wright, and ‘Master Gee’ O’Brien), jumped up on stage and started freestyling with the band.
“A few weeks later Rodgers was on the dance floor of New York club Leviticus and heard the DJ play a song which opened with Bernard Edwards’s bass line from Chic’s ‘Good Times’.  Rodgers approached the DJ who said he was playing a record he had just bought that day in Harlem.  The song turned out to be an early version of ‘Rapper’s Delight’, which also included a scratched version of the song’s string section.  Rodgers and Edwards immediately threatened legal action over copyright, which resulted in a settlement and their being credited as co-writers.  Rodgers admitted that he was originally upset with the song, but later declared it to be ‘one of his favorite songs of all time’ and his favorite of all the tracks that sampled (or in this instance interpolatedChic.  He also stated:  ‘As innovative and important as “Good Times” was, Rapper’s Delight was just as much, if not more so.’  ‘Rapper’s Delight’ is said to be the song that popularized rap music and put it into the mainstream.’”

(September 2016)
*       *       *
Along with John Denney (lead vocals) and his brother Dix Denney (guitar), the Weirdos began working on some early songs like “Teenage”, “I’m Not Like You”, “Bad Bad”, “Go Kid Hugo”, “Scream Baby Scream”, and “I Want What I Want”.  Even though they had no drummer initially, encouraged them to do a concert anyway, so they played at the Punk Palace without one.  Local DJ and fanzine writer Phast Phreddie – not to be confused with early rapper Fab 5 Freddy – began talking up the Weirdos and also introduced them to drummer Nicky Beat, who had recently left the Kim Fowley assemblage Venus and the Razorblades
(March 2017)
Last edited: March 22, 2021