Rapper Big Bank Hank died on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer. He was 57 years old.
The hip-hop legend was known as “the grandmaster with three MCs that shock the house for the young ladies,” according to TMZ. He was born Henry Jackson and was also known professionally by the name Imp the Dimp.
Jackson was one of three members of the group, the Sugarhill Gang, which was responsible for what was the first mainstream rap hit, “Rapper’s Delight,” in 1979, which spurred the big bang for hip-hop music. Whether a hip-hop fan or not, everyone knows the classic beat and the lyrics, “I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop and you don’t stop, a rock it.” (Hear the full song below.)
Unfortunately, none of the group’s tracks following “Rapper’s Delight” ever maintained the same kind of success, which a lot of people owe to the fact that hip-hop music exploded into various different outlets following the initial song. Though the group did release other singles, like “Apache” and “8th Wonder,” they faded from the spotlight. The Sugarhill Gang’s last rap album was geared for children and titled Jump on It!
Manager David Mallie told Fox News that Jackson died from kidney complications and he also told USA Today the rapper’s health had been declining over the past several years as he went through chemotherapy and dialysis treatments.
Jackson’s Sugarhill Gang bandmates, Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien, released joint comments about Jackson’s passing.
“So sad to hear about our brother’s passing. The three of us created musical history together with the release of ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ We will always remember traveling the world together and rocking the house. Rest in peace Big Bank.”