“Now what you hear is not a test/I’m rapping to the beat…”
If you can complete not just this sentence, but the verse before and the rest of the song, then you know the seminal hip-hop classic “Rapper’s Delight,” perhaps the most addictive sing-along song ever recorded. Big Bank Hank, Master Gee and Wonder Mike have been immortalized in hip-hop history as the trio who delivered one of hip-hop’s most enduring and pioneering recordings.
The original record, recorded by The Sugarhill Gang, on one of hip-hop’s first labels, Sugarhill Records, has been entertaining fans since its release in 1979 and has gone on to sell over 6 million copies.
In a new documentary “I Want My Name Back,” two of the performers on the original track, Master Gee and Wonder Mike, are now prohibited from using the Sugarhill Gang name. Joey Robinson, owner of Sugar Hill Records after founder Sylvia Robinson’s passing, owns the Sugarhill name.
“It’s crazy, man,” says Master Gee. “We can’t use the name Sugarhill Gang. You announced us as Sugarhill gang. We can’t do that. Our former record company people trademarked the Sugarhill gang name and according to what’s going on they said we can no longer use the Sugarhill Gang name. We can’t say we’re Sugar Hill Gang, we gotta say we’re Wonder Mike and Master Gee. You know all our hits – “Rapper’s Delight,” “Apache,” “8th Wonder,” – all those good records, but we can’t bill ourselves as Sugarhill Gang because the record company took the name from us. “