The Sugarhill Gang's 1979 hit Rapper's Delight is generally considered the first big hip-hop record, but by the end of the first part of new documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution it still hasn't even been recorded yet.
The four-part series, added to Netflix last week after premiering at Toronto's Hot Docs festival and screening on HBO earlier in the year, starts by going right back to the foundations of hip-hop, laid by the "holy trinity" of Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash.
The first episode offers a rich and endlessly fascinating history lesson, one which should help colour in some of the gaps in this year's other Netflix hip-hop history, Baz Luhrmann's grandiose big-budget drama The Get Down.
Hip-Hop Evolution charts the rise of the culture from its foundations in the Bronx in the '70s through to its emergence into the mainstream in the late '80s and early '90s, drawing the line after Dr Dre's landmark 1992 album The Chronic.
The series is hosted by a likeable Canadian rapper and amateur hip-hop history buff called Shad, who seems to have tracked down and interviewed just about every living hip-hop pioneer. He spends the first part talking to a bunch of them in New York City; their entertaining and illuminating stories are illustrated with a wealth of archival footage.
Talking to Kool Herc, Shad asks about the funk records he used to play at the first hip hop parties - the records Grandmixer DXT now refers to as "the sacred crates of hip hop".
"We hear about [Dennis Coffey's] Scorpio and [Babe Ruth's] The Mexican ... what else was side-by-side with that?" Herc laughs: "That's one thing I don't do is give out names to records. Everybody can't have your records."
"Herc built the foundations of hip-hop," Shad claims, "Afrika Bambaataa built a community around it" - his Zulu Nation, with roots in New York City gangs, brought together dancers, DJs, MCs. Then somewhere along the line Grandmaster Flash broke the number one rule of playing records: "I put my fingers on the vinyl."
Prior to this William Webb Ellis moment Kool Herc and all the others were still lifting and re-placing the needle on the record; Grandmaster Flash wanted something more accurate. "I let it go. Stopped it. Let it go ... " he remembers. "I said to myself: 'I have absolute control of the record'. But ... you're not supposed to touch the middle of the vinyl!"
Just like back in the day, when Grandmaster Flash turns up he steals the show: "DJs are gonna hate you! People are gonna hate you! You're gonna ruin these records!" he remembers thinking. "I decided that this was the only way to do it."
By the end of part one, Shad has only just started digging into the emergence of what would become known as rap. "Who's the first person you saw rap in the style we consider rapping today?" he asks Kurtis Blow. "That's controversial," the rap master replies carefully. "There are a few answers to that question ... "
The technical pioneers are easier to pin down. Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash. Each of them probably requires a full-length documentary to really begin to tell the full story, but Hip-Hop Evolution, with its tight 45-minute episodes and total length of a little over three hours, is an exceptionally well-made and fun-to-watch introduction.
Clear and accessible but richly detailed, it's one for the hip-hop nerds and the hip-hop novices alike.