The Rapper – The Jaggerz

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………..on March 21st of 1970 The Jaggerz, a six piece group from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, see their first Billboard Hot 100 entry, “The Rapper”, peak at #2. Two other releases, “I Call My Baby Candy” (#92) and “What A Bummer” (#88) couldn’t crack the Top 40. This was written by Donnie Iris, who was the guitarist and vocalist of The Jaggerz. Says Iris: “The song itself was just something that I wrote watching people in nightclubs, in all the bars that we were playing. You’d see these dudes go over and start rapping to chicks – in those days, we did call it ‘rappin’,’ and they were just basically picking chicks up and hitting on them. That’s how the song came about, just watching these guys and all their moves. We did sets in those nightclubs. Our shows were maybe two or three sets, and while we were sitting around taking a break between sets, I checked it out there, too. That’s what was going on, and that’s how I wrote that tune.” The term “Rap” has evolved over the years to describe a style of music, and a “Rapper” is now a person who performs this music, but as Iris explains, the term had significance even in 1969: “Now they call it hitting on somebody. When you were talking to somebody, you’d say, ‘Yeah, I was rappin’ to this chick,’ and that’s what we called it. It was a hip way of saying ‘Talking.’ It’s different now, but that’s what it meant back then.” This was The Jaggerz’ only hit, but Iris went on to join Wild Cherry and formed his own band with keyboard player Mark Avsec, who was also in Wild Cherry. With his band, Iris had hits with “Ah! Leah!,” “Love Is Like A Rock” and “My Girl.” The song failed to chart in the UK.