September 16 marked the 35th anniversary of the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.” Now, one of the rappers on that watershed hip-hop single, the Sugarhill Gang’s Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson, has died. David Mallie, who manages the group’s two surviving members, told FoxNews that Jackson had died from kidney problems related to cancer. He was 57.
Wonder Mike and Master Gee, the other Sugarhill Gang members, paid their respects to the man who helped them make history. “So sad to hear of our brother’s passing,” they’re quoted as saying. “Rest in peace Big Bank.”
DJ Funkmaster Flex, writing on Instagram, said: “Rest in peace… Big Bank Hank… Hip hop pioneer dies of Cancer …. Legend… Sugarhill gang August 5th-1957 / Nov11th-2014 ….. InFlexWeTrust.Com.”
Sugar Hill Records founder Sylvia Robinson brought the trio together to rhyme over an interpolation of Chic’s “Good Times.” Rapper Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers, a group managed at the time by Big Bank Hank, later claimed Jackson’s verses borrowed from his own without credit. Though “Rapper’s Delight” may have had contentious origins, and arguably wasn’t even the first rap single, its hugely influential place in pop culture is undeniable.