It’s almost common knowledge how iconic a figure Soul Train has become over the years. It gave African American entertainers a visual medium through which to share their talents and culture with the country, something that was desperately needed at the time. It also provided exposure to lesser known acts who were trying to find their footing within the industry.
Soul Train had the foresight to see what a movement hip hop would become, most media giants at the time didn’t believe that hip hop couldn’t prove itself to be more than a passing fad.
Soul Train’s host Don Cornelius chose not to include hip hop artists regularly until the early 90’s. He once stated to the LA Times that everywhere he would go that had black people there, they would ask him why doesn’t he play this or that, and it was always hip hop that people asked for, so he had to oblige them. However, there were scattered appearances from MC’s throughout the previous decade. The first rapper to be featured on Soul Train was Kurtis Blow in 1980.
His performance is still regarded as one of the best and most memorable in Soul Train’s history.