Sugar Hill Records introduced hip-hop to most of the world. Nuff said. They are the 4th most important hip-hop record label of all time.

Before record labels were considered “the enemy” their brands actually meant something.  Artists dreamed of being on the same label as the MCs they grew up idolizing and some labels had such credibility fans would buy the record just because it was on that label.

Over the next several days we will look at the 20 most important hip-hop record labels of all time as determined by a host of factors including credibility, sales, enduring legacy and cultural impact.  And, the labels are:

#4 Sugar Hill Records

Much has been written about the allegedly shady past of Sugar Hill Records and the lack of crdibility of the Sugar Hill Gang (many of Big Bank Hank’s rhymes were actually bitten from Grandmaster Caz).  Regardless, it cannot be denied that most people had never even heard the term “hip-hop” before 1979 when Rapper’s Delight by the Sugar Hill Gang burst onto the scene.  The song was a smash out of the gate and became the first rap song in history to crack Billboard’s Top 40Sugar Hill Records, founded by the husband and wife team of Sylvia and Joe Robinson in 1979, was formed in an era where singles, not albums, were the format of choice for rap music.  Rapper’s Delight was the first of many classic singles Sugar Hill dropped that would lay the blueprint for rap music and hip-hop culture.  The label started by releasing records that captured the party rap style that dominated the scene at the time (Rapper’s Delight) and evolved to capture several other styles on wax that would reach the mainstream for the first time, including political rap (The Message), scratching (The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious 5 on the Wheels of Steel), and electro-funk (Scorpio).   Sugar Hill’s importance in laying the foundation for recorded hip-hop cannot be overstated.

Rapper’s Delight – The Sugar Hill Gang

That’s The Joint – Funky Four + 1

The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five on the Wheels of Steel – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

It’s Nasty (Genius of Love) – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

The Message – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five ft. Duke Bootee

Scorpio – Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five

White Lines – Grandmaster Melle Mel and the The Furious Five

We are Known as Emcees – The Crash Crew

Beat Street – Grandmaster Melle Mel and the The Furious 5

Santa’s Rap – The Treacherous Three

Step Off – Grandmaster Melle and the Furious Five

Previously:  #20 Rakwus Records, #19 Loud Records, #18 Select Records, #17 Rap-A-Lot Records, #16 No Limit Records, #15 Sleeping Bag Records, #14 Uptown Records, #13 Ruffhouse Records, #12 Cold Chillin’ Records, #11 Jive Records, #10 Aftermath Records, #9 Cash Money Records, #8 Roc-A-Fella Records, #7 Ruthless Records, #6 Profile Records, #5 Tommy Boy Records

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One Response to Sugar Hill Records introduced hip-hop to most of the world. Nuff said. They are the 4th most important hip-hop record label of all time.

  1. Pingback: Bad Boy Records made the East Coast relevant again in rap music, making it the 3rd most important hip-hop record label in history. « Ambrosia For Heads

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