Sugarhill Gang

Not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Eligible since: 2004 (The 2005 Induction Ceremony)

Previously Considered? Yes  what's this?


Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Rapper's Delight (1979)

Sugarhill Gang @ Wikipedia

Sugarhill Gang Videos

Will Sugarhill Gang be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?
"Musical excellence is the essential qualification for induction."
   

Comments

23 comments so far (post your own)

The gang started it all for the rap scene...Not being in the Hall of Fame is a gross misjudgement

Posted by Seakev on Thursday, 10.11.07 @ 10:10am


rap 'hall of fame?' that's for rap fans to decide...but rock and roll? not just NO, but HELL NO!!!!!!

Posted by spike on Monday, 03.10.08 @ 11:00am


Rap's already in The Hall, see Grandmaster Flash.

And Sugarhill Gang started it all for the mainstream rap scene. They should go in.

Posted by K-Money on Sunday, 04.13.08 @ 09:41am


i know they only had one hit with
"rappers delight" but that song sarted rap
they should defintly be in the rock and roll hall of fame

Posted by tron on Saturday, 04.3.10 @ 14:32pm


This is one of the few ocasions where I believe one song should allow a band to get in. Rappers Delight practically began rap.

Posted by GFW on Saturday, 06.26.10 @ 09:44am


"This is one of the few ocasions where I believe one song should allow a band to get in."

To me, the only occasion.

Posted by Jim on Saturday, 05.21.11 @ 01:27am


R.I.P. Sylvia Robinson, founder of Sugarhill Records.

Posted by Aaron O'Donnell on Thursday, 09.29.11 @ 16:22pm


Rapper's Delight is to rap what Rock Around the Clock is to rock 'n' roll. Both songs heralded the arrival of new forms of music to the American cultural landscape. While neither tune was the first in its respective genre, RD and RATC both signaled a cyclonic change in popular music. Granted, it took longer for rap for top the charts than it did for rock 'n' roll, but there's no doubt that rap grew leaps and bounds in the following decades, both commercially and stylistically.

When it comes to rap music, I tune out most of what came after the '80s (that goes for most music). I prefer the early, formative years when a lot of experimentation was going on and the gangstas had not yet besmirched the genre.

Posted by Zach on Wednesday, 07.18.12 @ 21:28pm


As much as people hold The Sugarhill Gang in high regards, the true father of rap is a jump blues singer named Louis Jordan.

Also, it really makes me mad when people say that The Sugarhill Gang invented rap. People who say that should take a listen to "Saturday Night Fish Fry" or "Beans & Cornbread" by Louis Jordan. Don't get me wrong, I do like The Sugarhill Gang, but people need to understand that these guys didn't invent rap.

Lastly, Zach, I right there with you in saying that 80s rap began to go downhill when th gangster rappers like NWA came on the scene.

Posted by Andrew on Saturday, 09.14.13 @ 17:59pm


As much as people hold The Sugarhill Gang in high regards, the true father of rap is a jump blues singer named Louis Jordan.

Also, it really makes me mad when people say that The Sugarhill Gang invented rap. People who say that should take a listen to "Saturday Night Fish Fry" or "Beans & Cornbread" by Louis Jordan. Don't get me wrong, I do like The Sugarhill Gang, but people need to understand that these guys didn't invent rap.

Lastly, Zach, I right there with you in saying that 80s rap began to go downhill when the gangster rappers like NWA came on the scene.

Posted by Andrew on Saturday, 09.14.13 @ 18:00pm


Oh yeah, because TONS of rappers looked to Louis Jordan for inspiration.

Posted by GFW on Sunday, 09.15.13 @ 07:27am


I think that the mistake that people always make is to confuse rap with anything the seems rap like even though it has nothing to do with it and is not self-consciously part of that subculture. Rap refers to a very specific musical subculture that developed in NYC in the mid to late 70s. But people will always find a song where the performer is rhyming and claim that this was the "first rap song." One guy even once argued that that it was an early 1900s song from Sweden.

As to the Sugarhill Gang, they are not held in high regard. For one they were not among the original rap artists in that scene. And more fundamentally they stole the song Rapper's Delight from Grandmaster Caz who never saw a dime.

Posted by astrodog on Sunday, 09.15.13 @ 19:59pm


I don't know which rappers have acknowledged Louis Jordan as an influence, but even if none have cited Jordan, his vocal style and delivery certainly constitute a predecessor to rap. Just listen to songs like Beware, Beans and Cornbread, Gal You Need A Whippin', Saturday Night Fish Fry, Caldonia, and Open the Door Richard and you'll hear a semi-spoken delivery not unlike the typical rapper. It's no coincidence that one of Jordan's biggest fans and students, James Brown, also pioneered a style of proto-rapping with tunes like Say It Loud, I'm Black and Proud and Brother Rapp.

The more I research Jordan's career, the more I come to realize just how much of a juggernaut he was in forging the form of music we now call rock 'n roll (not rock, that's just an abbreviation like sci-fi is science-fiction and country is for country-western). True, there were others who paved the road and influenced rock 'n roll, but what it all comes down to is the sounds. When you hear Little Richard yell and scream as he and the band play right along, you're hearing the influence of Louis Jordan. When you hear Chuck Berry spin a humorous story in his inimitable tone, you're hearing the influence of Louis Jordan. When you hear James Brown bragging, you're hearing the influence of Louis Jordan. When you listen to any rapper, you're hearing the influence of Louis Jordan, albeit an indirect influence (Too bad, as more rappers should acknowledge that Jordan was a significant influence and pay him the debt he's owed).

I could go on forever, but it's impossible to overstate the influence Louis Jordan had on music in the second half of the 20th century, and continues to have with modern swing groups like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Posted by Zach on Sunday, 09.15.13 @ 22:55pm


Most eary rappers would credit Isaac Hayes, Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly & The Family Stone and James Brown as major influences rather then Louis Jordan.

Even through we share a lot in common with our tastes in music, Zach, there are other styles of music that I really like such as folk and roots rock that you donít care for, but as you always say, music is like ice cream because it has different flavors and not everyone has to like it.

Out of all the people that Iíve met on Future Rock Legends, you were the first one to open up to me when I started posting comments on Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis and you stood by me when Lax30 gave me all that crap about my list. You have been a wonderful friend to me and I'm truly blessed to have you in my musical life. Long live 50s rock and roll!


Lastly, I still haven't seen "Ray", but I intend to see it soon. Two other rock and roll films that I want to see are "The Buddy Holly Story" and "La Bomba."

Posted by Andrew on Monday, 09.16.13 @ 16:03pm


Yeah while people may credit "Rapper's Delight" The Sugarhill Gang as a whole aren't really rated.

"I think that the mistake that people always make is to confuse rap with anything the seems rap like even though it has nothing to do with it and is not self-consciously part of that subculture. Rap refers to a very specific musical subculture that developed in NYC in the mid to late 70s. But people will always find a song where the performer is rhyming and claim that this was the "first rap song." One guy even once argued that that it was an early 1900s song from Sweden."

THANK YOU.

I've seen people credit Subterranean Homesick Blues as the first rap song, as if black teens in the Bronx were all listening to Dylan.

Posted by GFW on Monday, 09.16.13 @ 17:12pm


@GFW-There are some decent documentaries on how it developed. Essentially the early DJs and rap artists would spin records an then weave them together, creating long musical breaks (which is where break dancing came from). Slowly as they were spinning the records they started to talk over them. It was a very homegrown phenomenon.
There is a 20/20 about rap from 1981 talks about some of the traditions it drew from, but it was a very specific subculture. I've never heard Flash or Bambaataa reference other artist as direct influences.

Posted by astrodog on Tuesday, 09.17.13 @ 22:34pm


What would you recommend as the best doc's, Astro?

Posted by GFW on Wednesday, 09.18.13 @ 07:16am


@GFW-They're on Youtube. I don't know the names embarrassingly enough but a couple by the BBC and also one about 1977 in NYC. The 1981 20/20 report was actually a good piece of journalism. In NYC in the mid 70s you had punk, disco and hip-hop all developing in parallel.

Posted by astrodog on Wednesday, 09.18.13 @ 08:52am


"I think that the mistake that people always make is to confuse rap with anything the seems rap like even though it has nothing to do with it and is not self-consciously part of that subculture. Rap refers to a very specific musical subculture that developed in NYC in the mid to late 70s. But people will always find a song where the performer is rhyming and claim that this was the "first rap song." One guy even once argued that that it was an early 1900s song from Sweden."

I don't know that I agree whole-heartedly with this. Especially if you're talking about rap in a purely musicological sense. The musical structure of a genre shouldn't be aligned specifically with one region or subculture. It should be replicable and translatable to many different subcultures.

Posted by Philip on Wednesday, 09.18.13 @ 19:25pm


"I think that the mistake that people always make is to confuse rap with anything the seems rap like even though it has nothing to do with it and is not self-consciously part of that subculture. Rap refers to a very specific musical subculture that developed in NYC in the mid to late 70s. But people will always find a song where the performer is rhyming and claim that this was the "first rap song." One guy even once argued that that it was an early 1900s song from Sweden."

I don't know that I agree whole-heartedly with this. Especially if you're talking about rap in a purely musicological sense. The musical structure of a genre shouldn't be aligned specifically with one region or subculture. It should be replicable and translatable to many different subcultures.

Posted by Philip on Wednesday, 09.18.13 @ 19:25pm
--------------------------------------------------
I'd split the difference here. Astrodog is correct when he says it was a distinct subculture, even though there were primitive forms of rap, be it Louis Jordan, Dylan's talking blues, "Tomorrow Never Knows", the Velvet Underground's "The Gift", etc.

At the same time, what came out of hip-hop did become replicable and translatable, courtesy of technology. Hip-Hop is one of the easiest forms to translate, though I'm willing to bet it didn't ask to be.

Posted by Cheesecrop on Thursday, 09.19.13 @ 05:19am


I won't deny it came out of a distinct subculture, but to say it belongs to one and only one is just wrong. It doesn't even really give any acknowledgment to the rise of West Coast rap, and you can't tell the story of rap without that (those) story(ies) being told. Of course, on the other hand, people who claim primitive or "first" rap songs are also revisionistically forgetting that rap was also originally that of a DJ culture. That's why we honor and induct Grandmaster Flash, Jam Master Jay, and Terminator X as part of their groups. It's a huge oversight.

But mostly, I like to use those "first rap song" examples mainly to fluster people who claim rap ain't music. My favorite example to use is the 1974 Reunion song "Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)"... that's a very rap-style vocal delivery if you ask me. And people make pretty sour expressions when you compare the two and they don't like it.

Posted by Philip on Monday, 09.23.13 @ 01:27am


The Sugarhill Gang (weather they stole the song or not)
Practically kicked off the whole genre (yes there were Hip-Hop songs before "The Rapoers Delight" but that one hit set everything off) Will they get in the hall... It's notva matter of if but when.

Posted by Micheal on Sunday, 05.11.14 @ 12:55pm


RIP, Big Bank Hank

Posted by Aaron O'Donnell on Tuesday, 11.11.14 @ 12:34pm


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