"But that was part of its enduring genius. There was nothing intimidating about the little Roland machines — unlike most synthesizers and drum machines of the time, which tended to be large, expensive, and hard to program. The 808's distinctive sounds, from its cowbell to the snare hit, became iconic and formed an essential element of the deep language within genres like electro, hip-hop, and house. The 808 model number even became something of a meme in pop culture — a word used in everything from band names (see 808 State) to a Kanye West album title. Recently, the 808 was even the subject of its own feature-length documentary, 808."
From an NPR obituary for Ikutaro Kakehashi, the founder Of Roland, who lived to be 87.