Top 5 Hip-Hop Moments with Don Cornelius and Soul Train


The legacy of Don Cornelius and “Soul Train” may not be so fresh in the minds of some of Hip-Hop’s younger generation. Why? Because nowadays we – younger and older – take for granted some of the mighty moves that were made from this pioneering television luminary. Although Mr. Cornelius didn’t fully understand Hip-Hop’s movement, he was instrumental in giving the artists in the ’80s and ’90s his platform to ensure its expansion. Remember “Soul Train” pre-dated MTV’s and BET’s Hip-Hop promotions and efforts.

Here are’s Top 5 Hip-Hop Moments with Don Cornelius and “Soul Train.” Please feel free to add on as we celebrate the Mr. Cornelius with peace, love, and sooooooooooul!

1) Run DMC Interview with Mr. Don Cornelius

I was pretty young when Run DMC appeared on “Soul Train”, but it was an incredible experience that left and inedible mark. Run, D, and Jay were so real at the time. They were so real that they pre-recorded their vocals “live” and then lip synched them later, per Soul Train’s rules. Mr. Cornelius – old school and traditional to the core – was not pro-Hip-Hop at that time, but he started to come around due to the strength of the movement.

“Hit It Run”

2) Public Enemy

Like Run DMC, you can see how awkward it was for Don Cornelius to introduce such a militant, noisy, and angry group like Public Enemy.

3) Eric B and Rakim

As Hip-Hop began to grow in its diversity, the artists spotlighted on “Soul Train” began to change, too. Eric B and Rakim appeared on the show at a pivotal time for the growth of the genre.

4) Heavy D and the Boyz 

Hopefully, Heavy D and Mr. Cornelius are up in heaven chillin’ and choppin’ it up about their awesome impact on life and Hip-Hop.

5) The Sugar Hill Gang 

This is where it all started from a commercial and mainstream level…The Sugar Hill Gang! This song likely got Mr. Cornelius onto Hip-Hop, because he wasn’t the biggest fan. But, still he was forward thinking enough to put The Gang on the show in 1981. Here it is:

Obviously, there are far more Soul Train clips to draw from, especially in the ’90s when “Soul Train” really started to embrace Hip-Hop. Join in with your favorite moments, and we’ll add them!