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Big Bank Hank

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Big Bank Hank
Background information
Birth nameHenry Lee Jackson
Born(1956-01-11)January 11, 1956
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 11, 2014(2014-11-11) (aged 58)
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation(s)Rapper, manager
Years active1973–2014
LabelsSugar Hill
Formerly ofThe Sugarhill Gang

Henry Lee Jackson (January 11, 1956 – November 11, 2014), known by his stage name Big Bank Hank, was an American hip hop recording artist and manager. Also known as Imp the Dimp, he was a member of the trio The Sugarhill Gang, the first hip hop act to have a hit, with the cross-over single "Rapper's Delight" in the pop charts in 1979.[1] He contributed to many documentaries based on the rap music industry. Lyrics to his verse from "Rapper's Delight" were allegedly plagiarized from rhymes written by Grandmaster Caz.[2]



Hank was born as Henry Lee Jackson[3] on January 11, 1956.[4] He grew up in the Bronx, New York City, near DJ Kool Herc and Coke La Rock, as well as other rap performers. He won several championships in wrestling at Bronx Community College, where he graduated with an A.S. degree in oceanography. Unable to attain a position in oceanography, he worked the doors of a Bronx nightclub called The Sparkle, where he became a music manager for Grandmaster Caz and his group The Mighty Force MC's.[5]

While working at a pizzeria, Jackson did his job so well that when the owner of the shop expanded his business to Englewood, New Jersey, he brought Jackson over to head the Crispy Crust store. While managing for a local hip hop group, The Mighty Force MC's (including Grandmaster Caz), Jackson was discovered by Sylvia Robinson. She was out trying to find an act for the new hip-hop trend she had discovered through her son and she heard Jackson rapping some of Grandmaster CAA's rhymes by chance when she visited Crispy Crust Pizza in Englewood. According to a 2014 New York Post article, when Robinson asked him to join the group she was forming, Jackson went to Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers for rhymes, and Caz gladly gave him his notebook, hoping to eventually get something in return.[2] However, since the Sugar Hill Gangs inception and stated again in a 2014 interview, Caz disputes this story, saying that Jackson did not ask him for permission to use his rhymes until after the record had been made.[6] Jackson, now called "Big Bank Hank," was 24 years old at the time the Sugarhill Gang's self-titled album was released.

In his New York Times obituary of Hank, Jon Caramanica quotes Wonder Mike: "He was boisterous — he filled the room. Ralph Kramden-type stuff."[7]



A resident of Tenafly, New Jersey, Hank died at the age of 58 at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in nearby Englewood on November 11, 2014, from cancer.[8]


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Biography: The Sugarhill Gang". Allmusic. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Writing cred for 'Rapper's Delight' sparks grudge". New York Post. January 26, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
  3. ^ Griggs, Brandon (November 12, 2014). "Sugarhill Gang rapper Big Bank Hank dead at 57". CNN.com. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 'Big Bank Hank,' whose real name was Henry Jackson
  4. ^ Caramanica, Jon (November 11, 2014). "Big Bank Hank, an Early Star of Rap, Dies at 58". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  5. ^ It was not known, as of early December of 2014, specifically when Jackson first began to call himself "Big Bank Hank." It was known that he would be best known by that name for the rest of his life.
  6. ^ Grandmaster Caz Talks Big Bank Hank Stealing "Rapper's Delight", retrieved December 2, 2021
  7. ^ Caramanica, Jon (November 12, 2014). "Big Bank Hank, an Early Star of Rap, Dies at 58". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  8. ^ Petrick, John; and Levin, Jay. "Rapper Big Bank Hank of Englewood-based Sugar Hill Gang dies at age 57" Archived June 8, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, The Record (Bergen County), November 11, 2015; accessed November 12, 2015.
    "Trail-blazing rapper Big Bank Hank, whose 1979 hit "Rappers Delight" with the Englewood-based group the Sugar Hill Gang was considered the first commercially viable rap single to shoot up the charts, died Tuesday morning at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. He was 57 and lived in Tenafly."