Big Bank Hank of pioneering rap group the Sugarhill Gang passed away on Tuesday morning at the age of 58. The rap legend who was born Henry Jackson passed away from kidney complications due to cancer. Big Bank Hank, one third of the Sugarhill Gang was first discovered in a pizzeria in Englewood, New Jersey by Sylvia Robinson, founder of Sugarhill Records. The Sugarhill Gang would go on to sell over 4 million records of their 1979 14-minute long smash hit "Rappers Delight." The Sugarhill Gang would later become the first rap group to crack Top 40 radio with "Rapper's Delight." This single also helped to propel Hip-Hop as a music genre into the mainstream. The group would later disband in 1985. In the 2011 documentary "I Want My Name Back," the group speaks out about their thirty year struggle to reclaim their name and fame. In a statement Big Bank Hank made to Maryland's Herald-Mail in 2013, the rapper said:
"I see groups that are hot one minute and next time you see them they’re asking if you want a soda with that Happy Meal. We’ve had the ability to transcend generations and that’s a gift. That’s a blessing and I’m grateful for that."DJ Mister Cee of Hip Hop’s legacy radio station WQHT (Hot 97) in NY adds:
"WITHOUT BIG BANK HANK & THE SUGARHILL GANG'S CONTRIBUTION THERE WOULD BE NO HIP HOP PERIOD!!! RAPPERS DELIGHT DID NOT OPEN THE DOOR FOR HIP HOP IT WAS THE DOOR!!! EVERY RAPPER, DJ, RECORD LABEL, RADIO STATION, BLOG & WEBSITE SHOULD TAKE A MINUTE TO THANK BIG BANK HANK & THE SUGARHILL GANG FOR GIVING US LIFE IN HIP HOP.”We at HipHopMyWay.com would like to thank Big Bank Hank and the Sugarhill Gang for giving us life. Rest In Peace. You can purchase the "I Want My Name Back" documentary on iTunes here. Check out Sugarhill Gang's classic hit "Rapper's Delight" below.