Homework: watch the following videos about the Roland TR-808 drum machine.
First up is a short trailer for an upcoming documentary called "808" (premiering at SXSW).
Second is an excerpt from the BBC documentary "The Shape of Things that Hum".
If you have the time (82 minutes), the full documentary is on YouTube. It discusses a number of important electronic instruments, including the MiniMoog synthesizer, the vocoder, the Yamaha DX7, the CMI Farilight, the Simmons drum machine, the Roland TB-303 bass synthesizer, the Roland TR-808 drum machine, and the Akai Sampler.