Sugar Hill Gang

Sun 27 May — Summer Soul BBQ
Hosted by Music First Entertainment

Sugar Hill Gang

The Sugarhill Gang (formed in 1973) is an American hip-hop, known for their 1979 hit single “Rapper’s Delight”, from Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.

In 1973 New Jersey residents Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright, Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien were assembled by producer Sylvia Robinson and formed The Sugarhill Gang. Sylvia Robinson and record mogul husband Joe Robinson were also founders of the label Sugar Hill Records named after the Sugar Hill, Harlem, New York neighbourhood.

Sylvia Robinson, aware of the popularity of hip-hop block parties tried to cash in and produce an infectious and catchy hit. The Sugarhill Gang released the single “Rapper’s Delight” in 1979 and became an instant worldwide hit with its notoriously groovy and danceable bass line of Bernard Edwards from Chic’s “Good Times”. “Rapper’s Delight” has gone on to sell over eight million copies worldwide, peaked at No. 3 in the UK singles chart and has been considered the first song to popularise rap in the U.S. and around the world.

Despite their early success, The Sugarhill Gang were unable to capitalise on their popularity with all of their albums failing to perform well commercially and critically. The band released an eponymously-titled debut album in 1980, and a sophomore album titled “8th Wonder” in 1982. After “Rapper’s Delight” the band had a number of moderate hit singles including “8th Wonder”, “Apache” and “Showdown”, although for the most part faded out of public consciousness by the mid-1980s.

The group returned in April 1999 to release the children’s rap album “Jump on It!” through Rhino Entertainment. The album was relatively well-received, featured a child friendly version of “Rapper’s Delight” and maintained the band’s old school hip-hop vibe. In 2014 Big Bank Hank died at the age of 58 after a long battle with lung cancer.