Getting their name from an area of Harlem, The Sugar Hill Gang burst onto the scene as an enigma in the late seventies – they were a new type of disco music, a hybrid taking the genre into a whole new direction. Rap has grown over the last forty years into a multi-million-dollar industry, stemming from a small group of friends with afro’s and flared white suits. Tonight was going to be something special, legendary, a night to remember.
By Martin Frank
The anticipation was electrifying as a capacity crowd of all ages come to experience a once in a lifetime party with these old, old school Grandmasters of a well-loved style of music. “I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don’t stop the rock,” came the cry as Master Gee walked onto the stage. The Sugar Hill Gang erupted with a clever medley of hits in true Hip Hop style. Playing the crowd, shouting New York to True York, they shook the room with everyone raising their hands and singing back to them, rapping with the casual ease of so many years of performing as sweetly as well run three-ring circus. Master Gee leads a highly polished show with casual dance routines slick as anything from the motown genre. Just as we’re built frenzy they leave and Scorpio and Grandmaster Melle Mel start. Their pedigree was instantly obvious as they burst into Global hits like The Message. This transported all the fifty something’s back to their youth before then bursting into White Lines, another track from the Grandmaster.
Tipping sixty years old, these original Rappers tirelessly filled the room with the contagious enthusiasm of raw twenty- year olds. The influence these few artists had on a whole genre of music has to be recognised – in the early eighties everyone was rapping, Wham, MC Hammer, Del a Soul, Run DMC and even Roland Rat. Rap was dance music, light and fun before it became hard and filled with hate, anger, and the violence that we associate with it now.
“All we need is good music and love,” Master Gee cries out, as The Sugar Hill Gang hit the audience with Rapper’s Delight and Apache, with everyone joining in as they produce a Grandmaster-class in rap and a show of how good their rap party is. The whole room bounces rap style without mention of guns, the Police, f@ckers, mother-f@ckers or bitches, as Master Gee shouts out over the party that it doesn’t matter where we are from, we are all the same and for a moment, nothing else matters. Tonight was as epic as we hoped that it would be, the power of good live music in Fibbers brought everyone together with plenty of Sugar.
Check out The Sugarhill Gang – you won’t regret it!