The Sugarhill Gang is an American hip hop group, formed in Englewood, New Jersey in 1979. Their hit "Rapper's Delight", released the same year they were formed, was the first rap single to become a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100;[1] reaching a peak position of number 36 on January 12, 1980.[2] This was the trio's only U.S. hit, though they would have further success in Europe until the mid-1980s. The trio reformed in 1994 and embarked on a world tour in 2016.

The Sugarhill Gang
The Sugarhill Gang in 2023
The Sugarhill Gang in 2023
Background information
OriginEnglewood, New Jersey, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Years active1979–1985, 1994–present
Past members

Formation and early years edit

The members, all from Englewood, New Jersey, consisted of Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson, Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright and Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien. The three were assembled into a group by producer Sylvia Robinson, who founded Sugar Hill Records with her husband, record producer Joe Robinson.[3] The group and the record company were named after the Sugar Hill, Harlem, neighborhood.[4]

Their 1979 hit "Rapper's Delight" was the first rap single to become a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. "Rapper's Delight" is now considered one of the most important rap songs of all time. The group never had another top 40 U.S. hit, though it had multiple European hits, such as "Apache", "8th Wonder" (which was performed on the American music show Soul Train in 1981), "Rapper's Reprise (Jam Jam)", and "Showdown" (with the Furious Five). The trio wound down over the next five years and disbanded in 1985.[5]

Later years edit

The Sugarhill Gang on Tour, 2016

In 1990, the group briefly reunited to perform during the “RapMania: The Roots of Rap” concert at the Apollo Theater in New York City.[6][7]

Joey Robinson, Sylvia Robinson's son, reformed the Sugarhill Gang in 1994.[8][9] The group recorded Jump On It!, a hip hop children's album, in 1999.[10] O'Brien had not rejoined the group, and at some point, Robinson started performing under O'Brien's stage name "Master Gee". This was much to the frustration of O'Brien and Wright, of whom the latter -as Robinson's bandmate- had tried to convince Robinson not to use the name.[8] Later, Robinson trademarked both the names "Master Gee" and "Wonder Mike". O'Brien and Wright went to court to retrieve the rights to their names.[8][11][12]

After Wonder Mike and Hen Dogg (who was a producer for Sugarhill Records) left Sugarhill Records in 2005,[8] the original members of Sugarhill Gang (besides Jackson) have performed as the Original Sugar and as Rapper's Delight Featuring Wonder Mike and Master Gee. This is largely due to a string of legal cases against them regarding the use of "Sugarhill Gang" as their name.

Having reacquired the rights to the name "Sugarhill Gang", the group released Lala Song with French record producer and DJ Bob Sinclar in 2009.

On November 11, 2014, Big Bank Hank died at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer.[13]

In 2016, the remaining living members of the original Sugarhill Gang, including Wonder Mike, Hen Dogg and Master Gee embarked on their first world tour in over a decade under the name The Sugarhill Gang. During this, they performed as the Sugarhill Gang for the Art of Rap festival tour in 2016, and at V Festival in Hylands Park and Weston Park in the UK as part of their world tour in 2016. Other places included, the Clockenflap Festival in Hong Kong on November 27, 2016, and they headlined at the Depot in the Park Festival in Cardiff, United Kingdom on August 5, 2017. In July 2019 they played the North Nibley Festival in Gloucestershire.[14][15][16][17]

In 2019, the Sugarhill Gang celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of "Rapper's Delight" and the group's formation. They went on a worldwide tour called Rapper's Delight 40th Anniversary World Tour. The gang made new music in early 2019. The tour lasted from May 24 to July 26, 2019.[18][19][20] They are still going on tours to this day.[21]

On October 25, 2019, the group performed "Rapper's Delight" on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[22]

As of 2024, the group consists of Wonder Mike, Master Gee, Hen Dogg and DJ T-Dynasty.[23][24]

Discography edit

The Sugarhill Gang discography
Studio albums5
Compilation albums9

The discography of the Sugarhill Gang includes five studio albums, nine compilations and fifteen singles.

Studio albums edit

Title Album details Peak chart positions

Sugarhill Gang 32 92 17
8th Wonder
  • Released: 1981
  • Label: Sugar Hill
50 15 44
Rappin' Down Town
  • Released: 1983
  • Label: Sugar Hill
Livin' in the Fast Lane
  • Released: 1984
  • Label: Sugar Hill
Jump On It!
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums edit

  • Sugarhill Gang Greatest Hits (1984)
  • Boyz from Da Hill (1994)
  • Ain't Nothin' but a Party (1998)
  • Hip Hop Anniversary Europe Tour: Sugarhill Gang Live (2008)

Singles edit

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album

"Rapper's Delight" 1979 36 4 37 2 1 3 2 18 2 3 Sugarhill Gang
"Rapper's Reprise" 1980
"8th Wonder" 82 15 8th Wonder
"Apache" 1981 53 13 33
"Showdown" (credited as The Furious Five meets The Sugarhill Gang) 49
"The Lover in You" 1982 55 54 Rappin' Down Town
"The Word Is Out" 1983 71
"Be a Winner"
"Kick It Live from 9 to 5" 50
"Livin' in the Fast Lane" 1984 78 Livin' in the Fast Lane
"Troy" / "Girls"
"The Down Beat" 1985 Non-album singles
"Work, Work the Body"
"Lala Song" (credited as Bob Sinclar featuring The Sugarhill Gang) 2009 9 55 7 68 Born in 69
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "29 Black Music Milestones: Sugarhill Gang". Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  2. ^ "Sugarhill Gang". Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  3. ^ "Sugar Hill Gang bio". AllMusic. Retrieved April 12, 2012.
  4. ^ Perrone, Pierre (October 4, 2011). "Sylvia Robinson: Hitmaker who co-founded Sugar Hill Records and became known as 'the mother of hip-hop'". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on June 20, 2022. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  5. ^ John Bush. "The Sugarhill Gang Biography". AllMusic.
  6. ^ Rapmania: The Roots of Rap (TV Movie 1990) ⭐ 7.1 | Documentary, Music, retrieved February 15, 2024
  7. ^ "Sugar Hill Records: "Rapper's Delight" | Hip Hop, Disco, Music History | Britannica". Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  8. ^ a b c d Paradiso, Roger (November 5, 2011), I Want My Name Back (Documentary, Biography, Music), Master Gee, Wonder Mike, Edward J. Albowicz, RLJ Entertainment, retrieved February 13, 2024
  9. ^ "The Sugarhill Gang Reminisce on 'Rapper's Delight' & 50 Years of Hip-Hop". The Aquarian. February 12, 2024. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  10. ^ "Jump on It! – The Sugarhill Gang – Songs, Reviews, Credits – AllMusic". AllMusic.
  11. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (July 14, 2015). "Joseph Robinson Jr., Sugar Hill Records Exec, Dead at 53". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  12. ^ "Sugar Hill Gang's Master Gee and Wonder Mike Talk Finding Loopholes". BET. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  13. ^ Guse, Clayton (November 11, 2014). "Big Bank Hank from Sugarhill Gang dead at age 58". Archived from the original on November 11, 2014.
  14. ^ "Line up for Nibley 2019". Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  15. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Sugarhill Gang "Rappers Delight – V Festival, UK, 20.08.2016". YouTube. August 21, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  16. ^ "The Sugarhill Gang // Rappers Delight // Kendal Calling 2016". January 16, 2017. Retrieved March 28, 2020 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ "The Sugarhill Gang (1) @ Clockenflap 2016". December 26, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2020 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ "Hip-Hop Icons the Sugarhill Gang Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of 'Rapper's Delight'". Los Angeles Sentinel. January 10, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "Sugarhill Gang 40th Anniversary Tour". April 17, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  20. ^ "The Sugarhill Gang: Live!". Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  21. ^ "The Sugarhill Gang". Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  22. ^ "SugarHill Gang – Rapper's Delight". October 25, 2019. Archived from the original on November 2, 2019. Retrieved March 28, 2020 – via YouTube. The group played the halftime show at the Arizona Cardinals vs Baltimore Ravens game on October 29th 2023
  23. ^ Ju, Shirley (January 23, 2024). "How The Sugarhill Gang's Lives Changed After "Rapper's Delight" - The Source". Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  24. ^ "Legendary rap group Sugarhill Gang discuss their impact on 50 years of hip-hop". September 13, 2023. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  25. ^ "Sugarhill Gang Chart History, Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  26. ^ "Sugarhill Gang Chart History, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  27. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 299. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  28. ^ a b "Discografie Sugarhill Gang". Dutch Charts (in Dutch). Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  29. ^ a b "Discography Sugarhill Gang". Charts NZ. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  30. ^ "Sugarhill Gang Chart History, Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  31. ^ "Sugarhill Gang Chart History, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  32. ^ "Discografie Sugarhill Gang". Ultratop Flanders (in Dutch). Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  33. ^ RPM singles chart positions:
  34. ^ "Discographie von Sugarhill Gang". Offizielle Deutsche Charts (in German). Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  35. ^ "Discographie Sugarhill Gang". Swiss Hitparade (in German). Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  36. ^ "Sugarhill Gang full Official Chart History". Official Charts. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  37. ^ "Sugarhill Gang – Rapper's Delight". Retrieved January 15, 2022.

External links edit