Formed: 1979 in NY
Years Active: 70 ‘s, 80 ‘s, 90 ‘s, 00’s
Though the Sugarhill Gang inaugurated the history of recorded hip-hop with their single “Rapper’s Delight,” a multi-platinum-seller and radio hit in 1979, the group was cooked up to cash in on a supposed novelty item. Music industry producer and label owner Sylvia Robinson had become aware of the massive hip-hop block parties occurring around the New York area during the late ’70s, so she gathered three local rappers (Master Gee, Wonder Mike, and Big Bank Hank) to record a single. Infectious and catchy, “Rapper’s Delight” borrowed the break from Chic’s “Good Times” and became a worldwide hit, eventually selling more than eight million copies. Most industry people figured rap for a short-lived trend, and though they were dead wrong, the Sugarhill Gang certainly didn’t carry the torch; despite several modest hits (“8th Wonder,” “Apache”), the trio faded quickly and was gone by the mid-’80s, only returning in 1999 with Jump on It, a rap album for children.