Sugarhill Gang founding member Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson died today (Nov. 11) at the age of 57. The New York rapper suffered kidney complications due to cancer, which he had been battling for some time, according to Fox News. Jackson formed the Sugarhill hang with Master Gee and Wonder Mic and recorded the hit 1979 song "Rapper's Delight," which is largely regarded as the first rap record and sold several million copies worldwide, establishing rap as the mainstream genre it is today.
The news was first reported by TMZ. David Mallie, who manages the group's two remaining living members, confirmed the news to Fox saying, "[Wonder Mike and Master Gee] had been in contact with him in the past year," Mallie stated. "They had some great times and created history."
The former group members also offered their condolences.
"So sad to hear of our brother's passing. Rest in peace Big Bank," they said.
Hank was born in the Bronx, New York City. He was discovered by Sylvia Robinson, who was trying to put together an act for the new underground genre she had discovered. Sugarhill Gang's self-titled album, which featured "Rapper's Delight," was released in 1980. Their second album 8th Wonder features two of their other famous tracks, the title track and "Apache (Jump On It)."
The full version of "Rapper's Delight" ran nearly 15-minutes long and was recorded in a single take. On the track, Big Bank introduces himself as "six foot one and tons of fun."
On the second verse of Jackson raps his famous line, "Everybody go: Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn / You see, if your girl starts acting up, then you take her friend," which has since been referenced in Chingy's "Holidae Inn" and Pitbull's "Hotel Room Service."
Rappers such as Big Daddy Kane, Q-Tip and Lord Jamar paid tribute to the late MC on social media.
Listen to "Rapper's Delight" below, and leave your condolences in the comments section!
— Lord Jamar (@lordjamar) November 11, 2014
R.I.P. Big Bank Hank. One third of the song that made all of this Hip Hop Music possible. Thanx for opening the door. http://t.co/yrXx9dBo8M — Dark Gable (@bigdaddykane) November 11, 2014
R.i.p Big bank hank-for the young niggas Google sugar hill gang and see the real history of Hiphop. http://t.co/Pp1vLkrfaQ — THE ALMIGHTY E A SKI (@EASKI) November 11, 2014
— GOAT. (@llcoolj) November 11, 2014
RIP BIG BANK HANK! — Mr. Walt/Evil Dee (@Beatminerz) November 11, 2014
A photo posted by Asa Buchanon (@buchanonbangaz) on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:23am PST