The music community is mourning the loss of Rapper Big Bank Hank who, under the Sugarhill Gang guise, marked the history of Hip-Hop, with the seminal ‘Rapper’s Delight’ back in 1979…
Born Henry Jackson on Aug. 05, 1957, Big Bank Hank, equally known as 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.-based trio of Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike and Master Gee 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 a new music genre – Rap – that got hardly heard outside the neighborhood block parties of its Bronx native place back then.
Hip Hop Wired.com notes that ‘Rapper’s Delight’ wasn’t just a catchy hit song, stating “The song is considered the moment that Hip-Hop became commercially viable.”
Released in fall 1979, ‘Rapper’s Delight’ became a novelty hit and a staple at Dance clubs well into 1980. It was born 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’.
‘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. After a settlement, the latter got listed as co-writers of the song.
“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,