RIP Big Bank Hank from the Sugar Hill Gang

Sugar Hill Gang Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

A member of the Sugarhill Gang, whose pioneering hit “Rapper’s Delight” brought hip hop to mainstream audiences 35 years ago, died Tuesday of complications from cancer.

“Big Bank Hank,” whose real name was Henry Jackson, died early Tuesday in Englewood, New Jersey, according to David Mallie, who manages the two surviving Sugarhill Gang members. The New York native was 57.

A beefy, boisterous presence onstage, Hank handled vocals in the early to middle portion of “Rapper’s Delight,” which despite its extended length — one version was more than 14 minutes long — became the first rap song to reach the Top 40 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

“Not only did Big Bank Hank help ignite and cement the legacy and viability of commercial Hip Hop Music as a whole.” Says super-producer Eddie F, and co-founder of the rap group, Heavy D a& the Boyz. “He also helped to inspire several following generations of young urban musicians so that they could also become successful business people.”

So sad. Rest in Peace, Big Bank Hank.


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