Rest In Peace To Sugarhill Gang’s Big Bank Hank
Henry Jackson, better known as Big Bank Hank of Rap pioneering group The Sugarhill Gang has died today (November 11). TMZ.com has reported that Hank’s band-mates, Wonder Mike and Master Gee confirmed the news to the publication. Reports state that Hank died from complications of cancer, though details are limited. He is believed to be 57 years old and living in his native New York City at the time of his death.
A Bronx, New York native, Hank was the manager of the Cold Crush Brothers (a/k/a Cold Crush 4). When Hank was discovered by Sugar Hill Records’ Sylvia and Joe Robinson, the Cold Crush’s Grandmaster Caz would be consulted to write a would-be massive hit, 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight.” The song would be a breakthrough vehicle for Hank and his two Englewood, New Jersey rhyme-partners, who scored one of Hip-Hop’s first international hits. In the song, Hank’s verse famously battled the fictional Superman character, vying for the affection of Lois Lane.
With Sugarhill Gang, Hank released five albums. 1982’s sophomore LP, also on the Sugar Hill label, 8th Wonder, would be a Top 50 hit for the trio. The title track, along with “Apache” and “Rapper’s Delight” compromised of the band’s three Top 100 charting singles.
Hank’s status with Mike and Gee would be sometimes estranged in the 30 years since 1984’s Livin’ In The Fast Lane. However, Jackson did reunite for the group’s fifth and final LP, 1999’s Jump On It!, a Rhino Records-released Children’s Rap album.
In recent years, Hank joined his Sugarhill Gang brothers in legal efforts to seek unpaid royalties from the Robinson family, regarding their catalog. Previously, Hank had toured without Mike and Gee (as Sugar Hill Gang), while the pair notably toured as “The Original Sugar Hill Gang,” while battling with their former label regarding rights to the group’s name.
Ambrosia For Heads extends our condolences to Big Bank Hank’s family, friends, and many fans.