We’ve lost another great entertainer this year. The American MC, a hip hop legend and the founder of the Sugarhill Gang, Henry ‘Big Bank Hank’ Jackson, has died at age 57. He died from kidney complications, due to cancer.
The legendary rapper was a founding member of the Sugarhill Gang, which produced the first mainstream rap hit Rapper’s Delight in 1979.
David Mallie, the group’s manager, confirmed the musician’s untimely passing and added “Wonder Mike and Master Gee had been in contact with him in the past year. They had some great times and created history.”
Wonder Mike and Master Gee, the two surviving members of the Gang, also released a statement, in which they shared their sadness over Big Bank’s passing: “So sad to hear of our brother’s passing. Rest in peace Big Bank.”
Big Bank Hank was best known as the most colorful voice on the track that made the Sugarhill Gang rap legends. The track became the ambassador of rap music and the record that almost single-handedly brought the hip hop culture from the South Bronx to the rest of America, and the whole world.
Henry Jackson was born in the Bronx. He later graduated from the local community college with an associate’s degree in oceanography.
Because he was unable to find a job in his chosen field, he began working at a pizza restaurant. Soon after he was discovered by Sylvia Robinson, a music manager, after she heard him rapping. Sylvia soon formed Sugarhill Gang with Henry as a member of the group with the alias Big Bank Hank.
Sugarhill Gang’s only hit in the US was Rapper’s Delight; however, they scored a few more chart toppers in Europe.