“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was a Country hit, but Rap Song

Sean Hoffman
3 min readJan 15

The devil went down to Georgia, he was lookin’ for a soul to steal.. he was in a bind, ’cause he was way behind, he was lookin’ to make a deal

I’m a fan of many different music genres. My early years growing up on the south side of Chicago were spent listening to local R&B station WGCI, where I was exposed to songs by Stevie Wonder, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic, and etc. At the same time, my older brother would sometimes listen to adult-contemporary station (back then) WLS in Chicago, which not only played music, but they played good music- I heard songs like Brother Louie by the Stories and Bad Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce; like me, Leroy Brown was from the south side of Chicago- how could I not relate? There was also the somewhat haunting Cats in The Cradle by Harry Chapin.

Right around the beginning of middle school, my mother had the good sense to finish her PhD, and she did so at the University of Iowa. Moving from the south side of Chicago to (at the time) white-bread Iowa City was a major cultural shock to 11-year-old me. The rules were different, and quite comically I went from being called “high yellow” and a “honkey” by my classmates to being called the n-word by classmates. I laugh at it all in retrospect because I ended up learning to give the middle finger to anyone who tried to project stereotypical expectations upon me, when you feel that everyone has rejected you for things you had no control over, you’d better learn to figure out what you like without other people telling you what you should like and not like.

Despite my being introduced to computers at the age of 11 by tagging along with my older brother and coding in Basic on an HP-2000 at the University of Chicago, Iowa City introduced me to my first personal computer, a single Apple II that they had in the library. The “operating system” was Basic. There were no games or applications; when it booted, it booted to a prompt that you had no choice but to write your own programs. I picked up my learning of Basic and then supplemented it by learning how to program 2D sprites using 6502 assembly language; in the absence of a commercial assembler, you directly “Peeked” and “Poked” your sprite manipulation routines from Basic.

Okay, enough boring autobiographical backstory; let’s get to the nitty-gritty. I first heard Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down to Georgia while living in Iowa City in 1979. It…

Sean Hoffman

Software Developer (C++, C#, Go, others), Husband, Father. I eat fried potatoes annually on July 14th.