Hip-Hop Made: The Sugarhill Gang’s Master Gee on legacy, controversy, and future

Back to where it all began
Master Gee
Photo credit Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

You got a tease of Femi Redwood’s conversation with Master Gee last week about the birth of rap records, well this week she’s dropped the full hour plus interview on the Hip-Hop Made podcast.

LISTEN NOW: The Sugarhill Gang's Master Gee on Legacy, Controversy and Future

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Hip-Hop Made
The Sugarhill Gang’s Master Gee on Legacy, Controversy, and Future
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Taking it back to where it all started, Master Gee shared his childhood and upbringing, noting that his father was a corporate pilot and a trumpet player. He likes to say that “all roads lead to me being who I am today.”

He started DJing at 15 and quickly mixed in his own raps to his DJ sets. Catching the interest of Sylvia Robinson, who now will forever go down in history for being the first to conceive a rap record and helping to spearhead the genre as we know it today, she brought Master Gee along with two others and built the iconic rap group, Sugarhill Gang.

While Master Gee assumed he’d complete high school and go on to join the military, fate took him in a completely different direction. At the time, there were no rap records so after “Rapper’s Delight” was dropped there was a complete shift in how the world knew Hip-Hop.

“The timing was perfect,” he said, noting that at the time, the only way you could hear rap music was if it was live or you got passed down a tape. But this sudden rush of fame wasn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, Master Gee talked about the swift transition from being a regular teenager to a rap music pioneer “was difficult.”


Being the first came with a lot of controversy. At this time, “sampling” hadn’t been established yet, and “Rapper’s Delight” is sampled from Chic’s “Good Times.” Gee shared that for along time “things weren’t being handled properly.”

And it didn’t stop there, the rap group faced more critiques when it was discovered that Big Bank Hank was not rapping original rhymes. The whole group was accused of being a fraud. However, Master Gee shared his appreciation for where the genre is headed now and although he doesn’t have a “favorite rapper,” he did share that he often listens to Kendrick Lamar, Common and Method Man.

The future for Master Gee is looking bright as he has no plans to slow down, “I’m having the time of my life,” he said. He’s currently pursuing a career in radio and has also started a media company, Adonis Entertainment Group, “to develop young artists” and help them work on music, motion pictures, and more.

You can listen to the full conversation with Master Gee above.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images