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Sugar Hill Records Story
     

The Sugar Hill Records Story

 
Hip-hop has come along way in the 20 years since Sugar Hill Records released its first singles, and, as Puff Daddy's pilfering of "The Message" attests, many late-'90s hip-hop fans tend to fondly view the label's output as quaint, pleasant novelties. And, well, much of it is. From Crash Crew's "Breaking Bells (Take Me to the Mardi Gras)" to

Overview

Hip-hop has come along way in the 20 years since Sugar Hill Records released its first singles, and, as Puff Daddy's pilfering of "The Message" attests, many late-'90s hip-hop fans tend to fondly view the label's output as quaint, pleasant novelties. And, well, much of it is. From Crash Crew's "Breaking Bells (Take Me to the Mardi Gras)" to the Treacherous 3's "Xmas Rap," Rhino's five-disc overview is full of cheesy fun. But what's most impressive about this set of old-school cuts from the Sugarhill Gang, Spoonie Gee, Busy Bee, Grandmaster Melle Mel & the Furious Five, the Funky 4 + 1, and Trouble Funk is how so many of the small New Jersey label's universally catchy, funky, political, and even touching tracks endure on their own terms. Not only do you get groundbreaking hits like "Rapper's Delight," "8th Wonder," "That's the Joint," "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel," "The Message," and "It's Nasty (Genius of Love)," there's also Kool Moe Dee schooling the Treacherous 3 in the art of "Yes We Can-Can," some ace Grandmaster Flash beat-busting, and a mountain of classic samples (see West Street Mob's "Ooh Baby"). This is a piece of history no less essential than Rhino's acclaimed NUGGETS boxes, and a must-own for rap fans who wanna get a little deep.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Sugar Hill Records was the first rap and hip-hop label, giving many listeners their first exposure to the urban rhyming and scratching that transformed pop music during the '80s. Like most indie labels, they had troubles with finances and distribution; eventually, that situation resulted in their records remaining out of print during the rise of the hip-hop during the late '80s and '90s. The five-disc Sugar Hill Records Story remedies this situation by collecting all of the label's classic A-sides, many in their full-length mixes, on one set. Tracks by the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, and the Treacherous Three are commonplace and remain excellent, but the true revelation of the box set is how strong largely forgotten cuts by Spoonie Gee, the Funky 4 + 1, Trouble Funk, the Sequence, Super Wolf, and West Street Mob are -- these are supremely funky, infectious and inventive cuts, which have been made familiar through samples and quotations on modern rap records. Another surprise is how integrated this music is -- male and female rappers trade lines without hesitation, and there is none of the misogyny or violence that characterized gangsta rap. But that doesn't mean the old-school rap on The Sugar Hill Records Story sounds dated -- much of this bright, elastic electro-funk has provided the foundation for '90s hits by the likes of the Beastie Boys and Dr. Dre. But the most surprising thing of all is how The Sugar Hill Records Story barely loses momentum over the course of five discs. There is the occasional dull spot or oddity (check out the bizarre B-52's rip-off "At the Ice Arcade" by the Chilly Kids) that interrupts the flow, but the music is consistently strong, even on the fifth disc. It was inevitable that The Sugar Hill Records Story would be an important historical document, but what makes it truly essential is how rich, diverse, and timeless the music actually is.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/04/1997
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227244927
catalogNumber:
72449

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sugarhill Gang   Track Performer
Sylvia   Track Performer
Moments   Track Performer
Trouble Funk   Track Performer
Mass Production   Track Performer
Philippe Wynne   Track Performer
Busy Bee   Track Performer
Duke Bootee   Track Performer
Grandmaster Flash   Track Performer
Gabriel Jackson   Track Performer
Grandmaster Melle Mel   Track Performer
Treacherous Three   Track Performer
Pete Wingfield   Keyboards,Background Vocals
Sylvia   Track Performer
Big Bank Hank   Track Performer
Positive Force   Track Performer
Wonder Mike   Track Performer
Funky 4 + 1   Track Performer
Sequence   Track Performer
Crash Crew   Track Performer
Kevie Kev   Track Performer
Miracle Mike   Track Performer
Super Wolf   Track Performer
Wayne & Charlie (The Rapping Dummy)   Track Performer
West Street Mob   Track Performer
Melle Mel & the Furious 5   Track Performer
Scorpio   Track Performer
Cowboy   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Michael Johnson   Producer
Trouble Funk   Producer
Denise LaSalle   Producer
Busy Bee   Producer
Leon "Ndugu" Chancler   Composer
Jiggs Chase   Producer
Moe Dewese   Producer
E. Fletcher   Composer
Brian Friedman   Remixing
Reggie Griffin   Composer,Producer
Tommy Keith   Producer
Joey Robinson   Producer
Leland Robinson   Producer
Sylvia Robinson   Composer,Producer
Treacherous Three   Producer
Tina Weymouth   Composer
Doug Wimbish   Producer
Pete Wingfield   Producer
Michael Wright   Producer
Melle Mel Plowden   Producer
Melvin Glover   Composer
Big Bank Hank   Producer
Joseph Saddler   Composer
Larry Johnson   Producer
Sevie Bates   Art Direction
Ralph Heibutzki   Liner Notes
Bernard Alexander   Producer
Clayton Savage   Producer
Michael Carriel   Producer
Cheryl Cook   Producer
Nate Edmonds   Producer
Keith Wiggins   Composer
E. Morris   Composer
Guy OBrien   Producer
Rhondo Robinson   Producer
M2   Producer
Edward Fletcher   Producer
Steve Greenberg   Liner Notes

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