Milli Vanilli: Rappers?

The very first "Hot Rap Singles" chart ever debuted in the March 11, 1989 Billboard magazine. There were 30 singles listed, and here are the top 10:

  1. SELF DESTRUCTION - Stop The Violence Movement
  2. WILD THING - Tone-Loc
  3. JACK OF SPADES - Boogie Down Productions
  4. ROLLIN' WITH KID 'N PLAY - Kin 'N Play
  5. GIRL YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE - Milli Vanilli
  6. GET ON THE DANCE FLOOR - Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock
  7. PUMP IT UP - M.C. Hammer
  8. LIFE IS TOO SHORT - Too Short
  9. TEENAGE LOVE - Slick Rick
  10. HIGH ROLLERS - Ice-T

From Letters To The Editor in March 25, 1989 Billboard magazine:

Interloper On Rap Chart

Milli Vanilli's "Girl You Know It's True" is not a rap song, although Billboard debuted the record on its Hot Rap Singles Chart in the March 11 issue. The song is good, but it's not rap! It may use the old Eric B. and Rakim "Paid In Full" beat, but it's still nothing but a pop tune.
I think you should reconsider what you call rap and look at what the inner-city kids call rap.

Tom Phillips
Wilmington, Del.

Terri Rossi, Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart manager, replies:

This is a subjective matter that can be argued with equal strength from both sides. The record stores on the panel for the Hot Rap Singles chart have chosen to report "Girl You Know It's True" as one of their best-selling rap singles, so Billboard feels it is best to defer to their judgment.