The music community is mourning the loss of Big Bank Hank. A Rapper who, under the Sugarhill Gang guise, marked the history of Hip-Hop. And this, with the seminal ‘Rapper’s Delight’ back in 1979…
Born Henry Jackson on Aug. 05, 1957, Big Bank Hank, aka Imp The Dimp, died early Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. David Mallie, who manages the group’s two remaining living members, told Fox News that Jackson died from kidney complications due to cancer. Mallie confirmed the news to USA TODAY. Saying that he had seen Hank “several times” over the last years. And that “his health had been declining as he went through chemotherapy and dialysis treatments.”
Wonder Mike and Master Gee issued a statement Tuesday… “So sad to hear about our brother’s passing. The 3 of us created musical history together with the release of ‘Rapper’s Delight’. We will always remember traveling the world together and rocking the house. Rest in peace Big Bank.”
The founder of Sugar Hill Records, Sylvia Robinson, brought together the Englewood, N.J.hailing trio in 1979 for the label’s debut record to capitalize on the new trend. In doing so, what began as a novelty song, with the catchphrase “Hip-Hop and you don’t stop” and lyrics chanted over a repetitive bassline, gave rise to Rap. A new music genre one would hardly hear outside the neighborhood block parties of its Bronx native place back then.
HipHopWired notes that ‘Rapper’s Delight’ wasn’t just a catchy hit song. Meanwhile stating one’s got to see this song as the moment that Hip-Hop became commercially viable.
Hitting the streets in fall 1979, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ became a novelty hit and a staple at Dance clubs well into 1980. It went into the light from the emerging New York Hip-Hop scene of the late 70’s. With young rappers gathering in clubs and exchanging rhymes over instrumental breaks from popular songs. And most notably Chic‘s hit ‘Good Times’.
As a matter of fact, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ also borrowed its bassline and other flourishes from ‘Good Times’. Eventually prompting threats of legal action by Chic co-founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. This resulting in the latter listed as co-writers of the song after a settlement.
“It felt like a new art form”, Rodgers later said of ‘Rapper’s Delight’.
Indamixworldwide would like to express their deepest condolences to Hank‘s family and friends.
For you, Henry,
With eternal Love,
Gone too soon – Sugarhill Gang rapper Big Bank Hank dies at 57!