The impact of 808 was loud and lasting. Roland claims it is heard on more hit records than any other drum machine, including tracks by Michael Jackson, Prince, Marvin Gaye — whose 1982 album, “Sexual Healing,” was largely constructed with an 808 — and Kanye West, whose album “808s and Heartbreak” was named after it.
Beyoncé, Madonna and Eminem, among many others, have mentioned the 808 in lyrics.
The 808 was widely embraced in hip-hop, particularly after the release of “Planet Rock” by Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force in 1982. In “808,” a 2015 documentary about the device by Alex Dunn, Public Enemy’s producer Hank Shocklee said, “It’s not hip-hop without that sound.”
Introduced in 1980 and discontinued in 1983,…