Big Bank Hank
|Big Bank Hank|
|Birth name||Henry Lee Jackson|
January 11, 1956|
The Bronx, New York City, United States
|Died||November 11, 2014
Englewood, New Jersey, United States
|Genres||Hip hop, old school hip hop|
|Associated acts||Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang|
Henry Lee Jackson (January 11, 1956 – November 11, 2014), known by his stage name, Big Bank Hank, was an American old school rapper 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. He contributed to many documentaries based on the rap music industry. The lyrics to his verse from "Rapper's Delight" were purportedly plagiarized from rhymes written by Grandmaster Caz.
Hank was born as Henry Lee Jackson on January 11, 1956 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. But 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.
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 Cold Crush Brothers, 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 the Cold Crush Brothers's rhymes. When Robinson asked him to join the group she was forming, Jackson went to Grandmaster Caz of the Cold Crush Brothers for rhymes. Caz gladly gave him his notebook, hoping to eventually get something in return. Jackson, now called “Big Bank Hank,” was 22 years old at the time that the Sugarhill Gang's self-titled album was released.
Hank's act was known for his competition with the comic book superhero Superman. His verse depicts him meeting Lois Lane and convincing her to drop her boyfriend, Superman. Rapped Hank: "He's a fairy, I do suppose, flying through the air in pantyhose...He can't satisfy you with his little worm, but I can bust you out with my super sperm." In his three sections of the song, Hank uses his well-known chant: "Ho-tel, Mo-tel, what you gonna do today (say what)/I'm gonna get a fly girl, gonna get some spank n' drive off in a def O.J." (An "O.J." refers to a luxury American car, such as a Lincoln Continental. The reference is from popular TV commercials of the 1970s where NFL running back O. J. Simpson was the spokesman for Hertz rental cars.).
- Bush, John. "Biography: The Sugarhill Gang". Allmusic. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
- "Writing cred for 'Rapper's Delight' sparks grudge". New York Post. January 26, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2015.
- 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
- Caramanica, Jon (November 11, 2014). "Big Bank Hank, an Early Star of Rap, Dies at 58". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- 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.
- Green, Jonathon. "def O.J." at Cassel's Dictionary of Slang, p. 393. [Reprinted online at Google Books.]
- Petrick, John; and Levin, Jay. "Rapper Big Bank Hank of Englewood-based Sugar Hill Gang dies at age 57", 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."