Sugarhill Gang – Nottingham Spanky Van Dykes, Tuesday June 8.
“I said a hip hop, the hippie, the hippie, to the hip hip hop, you don’t stop the rock…” It wasn’t quite the first rap record ever made – the Fatback Band beat them to it by a month – but the Sugarhill Gang can legitimately claim to being the first hip hop act off the blocks, with their 1979 hit “Rapper’s Delight”.
Those historic, genre-christening first lines were delivered by Wonder Mike, who joined fellow original member Master Gee and relative newcomer Hendogg on stage at Spanky Van Dykes last night, for an hour long set that brought some of the flavour of those original Bronx block parties to a new generation of fans.
Keeping it strictly old school, the trio of MCs energised the crowd with their fast-flowing rhymes, taking us through their back catalogue (8th Wonder, Apache) and paying tribute to Grandmaster Flash with a couple of verses from The Message.
Audience participation was repeatedly sought, and enthusiastically given. The ladies in the house were given ample opportunity to say “oww”, and hands were duly waved in the air, like we just didn’t care. All the time-honoured rituals were observed, and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“Hotel, motel, holiday inn…” Closing the show with their breakthrough hit, the Sugarhill Gang milked us for every last drop of sweat. The final verses were delivered acapella, with human beatboxing provided by their burly DJ. Peace signs flashed around the room, before hip hop’s founding fathers disappeared into the glad-handing throng.