Chas Hodges, who has sadly died at the age 74, was a hip-hop legend (sort of). The guitarist will be best remembered as one half of Chas & Dave, the ‘rockney’ heroes whose knees-up hits include ‘Rabbit’, ‘Gertcha’ and ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You’, but he’s also notable as a footnote in rap history.
That’s because, somewhat bizarrely, they appear on Eminem’s breakthrough 1999 breakthrough hit ‘My Name Is’. Yes – that lilting, catchy guitar line is pure Chas Hodges, while Dave Peacock provides the bouncing bassline. Before they scored hits in their own name throughout the 1980s, the musicians were jobbing session players. In 1975, they played guitar and bass on the soulful track ‘I’ve Got The…’ by the soft rock musician Labi Siffre. Taken from Siffre’s album ‘Remember My Name’, it’s a much more louche, languid affair than Eminem’s bubblegum rap version, and it’s two-and-a-half minutes before the iconic refrain comes in. When it does, though, you’ll recognise it immediately.
Author Mark Mason has written about the bizarre pop fact in his 2009 book ‘The Importance of Being Trivial’. The writer has also explained: “The first [Chas] heard of his connection with rap royalty, he told me, was from his son. ‘He came into the room and said, “I can’t believe it – my dad’s on a worldwide hit!”‘ What about royalties? ‘We ain’t had any yet,’ said Chas, ‘but someone’s chasing it up. We’ve signed something, anyway.’” And, weirdly, it wasn’t even the first time Chas & Dave crossed over into the world of hip-hop.
Jay-Z sampled the track on 1997’s ‘Streetz Iz Watching’, while Wu Tang Clan used the bassline on 1993’s ‘Can It Be All So Simple’. In 2013, Chas & Dave released the comeback album ‘Two Worlds Collide’. This wasn’t a reference to their unlikely success in the hip-hop world – but could well have been.