It has been 35 years since Rapper’s Delight became the first breakthrough rap song, paving the way for countless acts to follow. In that time The Sugarhill Gang have seen their material become some of the most sampled, a fact which they are acutely aware of.
After Peter Parker (aka the DJ from Fingathing) had taken the crowd through a whirlwind tour of old-school hip hop and worked the eclectic crowd up, the iconic The Sugarhill Gang, made their way on to the stage at Gorilla to the instant delight of the audience.
The Sugarhill Gang (now comprising original members Michael “Wonder Mike” Wright and Guy “Master Gee” O’Brien as well as Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) know exactly how to whip a crowd up in to a frenzy – and they did. Taking fans through hit after infectious hit (covers as well as their own material were thrown in), they worked the audience to perfection – New Jersey’s own had them in the palms of their hands interacting, posing for pictures, walking out amongst them, driving them crazy.
Old school hip hop anthems abounded – House of Pain’s Jump Around, Run DMC’s Walk This Way, LL Cool J’s Phenomenon, the theme being songs which had featured The Sugarhill Gang samples. It is actually quite incredible to think how much The Sugarhill Gang’s songs have permeated through music, how many hits have been influenced by them.
The biggest cheer was saved for their 1979 hit, a song which thrust rap and hip hop into the mainstream, arguably transforming the music industry. Rapper’s Delight. And it was a delight. As eight girls from the crowd were brought on stage to groove along (which they did admirably), The Sugarhill Gang performed their greatest hit. The audience loved it (as they did the whole gig). The Sugarhill Gang proved that they can still do it, that they can entertain, and that they are truly legends. Just being there to see Sugarhill was something else, but the sight of such icons walking out on stage to perform Apache will stay with me for quite some time.
After around an hour Wonder Mike and Master Gee left the stage to man the merchandise stand leaving Melle Mel to go through a medly of somewhat more unexpected songs including Madonna’s Holiday, Nirvana’s Teen Spirit and Eurythmic’s Sweet Dreams (unexpected and just a little left of centre but the fans lapped it up) declaring that he would only keep going until people stopped buying CDs, chanting “CDs, CDs” – hustlers to the end!
Author: Editorial Team
Live Manchester editorial team