Throwback: The Sequence-Funk You Up

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Angie Brown Stone (Angie B), Cheryl Cook (Cheryl The Pearl) and Gwendolyn Chisholm (Blondie) destroyed the myth of New York City being the only viable place for hip-hop in the late ’70’s when they formed The Sequence. The South Carolina natives knew each other in high school and had already been performing locally by the time they auditioned for Sylvia Robinson backstage at a Sugar Hill Gang concert in their hometown. “Funk You Up” was the song that influenced Sylvia Robinson to sign them to Sugar Hill Records. The song was the first commercial rap recording from a female rap group and the second single released by Sugar Hill Records. They were also the first southern rappers to get a deal long before the rise of crunk and trap music. “Funk You Up” was their most popular song but they had also had success with the P-Funk tribute “Funky Sound (Tear The Roof Off)” and “I Don’t Need Your Love (Part One).” It was during this time period when Angie Stone appeared in the film Wild Style. The Sequence were one of the most prolific acts on Sugar Hill producing 3 full albums of original music unlike some of the artists who mostly had their 12-inch singles packaged as albums. As backing vocalists they were heard on Spoonie Gee’s “Monster Jam” and West Street Mob’s “Let’s Dance (Make Your Body Move).” Their last recordings for Sugar Hill came out in 1985 and The Sequence was no more. Angie Stone later joined the groups Vertical Hold and Devox, worked with ex-lover D’Angelo and had a successful solo career in the ’90’s and 2000’s. Dr. Dre eventually purchased the publishing for “Funk You Up” from Sylvia Robinson and sampled it for “Keep Their Heads Ringin.” Erykah Badu remade “Funk You Up” as “Love Of My Life Worldwide” with Angie Stone, Queen Latifah and Bahamadia on her Worldwide Underground album.

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