Black Music Month: The Sugarhill Gang

June is Black Music Month and WERS at Night will recognize black musicians, composers, singers, and songwriters who have made enormous contributions to the music industry. Today, June 15th, 889@Night is highlighting The Sugarhill Gang.

Best known for their 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight”, The Sugarhill Gang put the hip in hop. The Sugarhill Gang is an American hip-hop group from Englewood, New Jersey. Producer and founder of Sugar Hill Records brought together three men, Master Gee (born Guy O’Brien, 1963), Wonder Mike (born Michael Wright, 1958), and Big Bank Hank (born Henry Jackson, 1958).

“Rapper’s Delight” was the first hip-hop single to become a Top 40 hit, which helped paved the way for the future of rap music. The single peaked at #4 on U.S. R&B chart and #36 on the Hot 100. The song was catchy, fun, and energetic. “Rapper’s Delight” borrowed the break the Chic’s “Good Times” and quickly caught the ears of listeners worldwide. The single has sold more than eight million copies. They were the first to be credited with mainstream success, expanding their music to other audiences outside the hip-hop scene.

The group released four studio albums, nine compilations, and fifteen singles. Their first album, Sugarhill Gang, was released in 1980 and positioned itself at #32 on the U.S. R&B chart. 8th Wonder was released in 1982 and found itself on the U.S. R&B chart at #15. Rappin’ Down Town was released in 1983 and Livin’ in the Fast Lane in 1984. The Sugarhill Gang had a few more hit singles: “Apache”, “8th Wonder”, “Rapper’s Reprise (Jam Jam)”, and “Showdown”. The group stepped out of the hip-hop scene for some time in the mid-80s but returned in 1999 with Jump On It, a rap album for children.

Many thought rap was just a short-term fad, but The Sugarhill Gang’s influence and impact in the music industry proved that rap was here to stay. The Sugarhill Gang is an extremely talented group, who developed a genre of music that now plays throughout the entire world.

By Ally Doxsey

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