Sugar Hill Records introduced hip-hop to most of the world. Nuff said. They are the 4th most important hip-hop record label of all time.

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#4 Sugar Hill Records

Much has been written about the allegedly shady past of Sugar Hill Records and the lack of credibility of the Sugar Hill Gang (many of Big Bank Hank’s rhymes were actually bitten from Grandmaster Caz). Regardless, it cannot be denied that most people had never even heard the term “hip-hop” before 1979 when Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang burst onto the scene. The song was a smash out of the gate and became the first rap song in history to crack Billboard’s Top 40. Sugar Hill Records, founded by the husband and wife team of Sylvia and Joe Robinson in 1979, was formed in an era where singles, not albums, were the format of choice for rap music. Rapper’s Delight was the first of many classic singles Sugar Hill dropped that would lay the blueprint for rap music and hip-hop culture. The label started by releasing records that captured the party rap style that dominated the scene at the time (Rapper’s Delight) and evolved to capture several other styles on wax that would reach the mainstream for the first time, including political rap (The Message), scratching (The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5 on the Wheels of Steel), and electro-funk (Scorpio). Sugar Hill’s importance in laying the foundation for recorded hip-hop cannot be overstated. Here’s a playlist of some of the seminal music from Sugarhill Records, featuring The Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, The Funky Four +1, The Treacherous Three and more.

Previously: #20 Rakwus Records, #19 Loud Records, #18 Select Records and #17 Fresh Records, #16 Rap-A-Lot Records, #15 Ruffhouse Records, #14 Uptown Records, #13 Cold Chillin’ Records, #12 No Limit Records, #11 Jive Records, #10 Aftermath Entertainment, #9 Roc-A-Fella Records, #8 Cash Money Records, #7 Ruthless Records, #6 Profile Records, #5 Tommy Boy Records