Expertly blending pop, hip-hop and disco styles, Blondie’s Rapture was released in January 1981 and was the first rap video to show on MTV. Coming from the album Autoamerican, it was produced by Mike Chapman. Blondie were a maddeningly inconsistent album band, but their singles always compensated and this belter was no exception – it still sounds fantastic today.
Set in the East Village section of Manhattan, the “Man from Mars” or “voodoo god” (dancer William Barnes in the white suit and top hat) is the introductory and central figure. Barnes also choreographed the piece. The final shot is a one-take scene of Debbie Harry dancing along the street, passing by graffiti artists, Uncle Sam, a Native American and a goat. Fab Five Freddy and graffiti artists Lee Quinones and Jean-Michel Basquiat make cameo appearances. Basquiat was hired when Grandmaster Flash did not show for the filming.