R.I.P. Big Bank Hank

Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, who as one member of the original lineup of The Sugarhill Gang passed in New York City today of cancer. Jackson, along with Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien were the first rappers to have Billboard success with the meteoric “Rapper’s Delight.” Sylvia Robinson, the late co-founder of Sugarhill Records saw the commercial viability and pop culture power of rap music and helped assemble the young rappers together to make a group. “Rapper’s Delight” lead the way for hip-hop to enter into the music industry and sparked the first argument about authenticity from street rappers like Melle Mel. But the sample of Chic’s “Good Times” and the party rhymes was infectious and made The Sugarhill Gang icons of rap’s emergence into the mainstream. The group lost their original name which was documented in the film, I Want My Name Back and they splintered with Jackson going on tour as the original Sugarhill Gang with Joey Robinson. Despite the legal conflicts that came from this lineup, the Sugarhill brand lived on proving the timelessness of music.