Black History Month: Sugar Hill Gang

Brittani Langland

The first hip hop song traces all the way back to 1980, when the song “Rapper’s Delight,” by The Sugarhill Gang came out. This song was just the beginning of a long era of all types of rap and hip hop music. Before the Sugarhill Gang, hip hop was only heard in clubs near Harlem.

When Sylvia Robinson heard a DJ rapping over records at a Harlem club, she sent her son Joey to find people to do the same. She enjoyed the sound of that music and wanted to make more of it. Joey came back with Big Bank Hank, Master Gee, and Wonder Mike who were all from the surrounding Harlem neighborhoods. Robinson named them Sugar Hill gang after the sugar hill district in Harlem and rushed the trio to the recording studio where they would record their first hit “Rapper’s Delight.”

The Sugar Hill gang was very successful, but there is some controversy. When they went to record their first hit “Rapper’s Delight”, Big Bank Hank may have borrowed lyrics from MC Grandmaster Caz, another DJ in Harlem. Caz was never credited for it.

Despite that, The Sugar Hill gang took off, and changed the course of the music industry.

All images legally used by/from AP images

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