Still of The Original Sugarhill Gang
Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Roger Paradiso
Roger Paradiso documents the rise and fall of hip hop pioneers Wonder Mike and Master Gee, original members of The Sugarhill Gang, the group responsible for the seminal record “Rapper’s Delight.” After the release of the world’s first commercial hop hop composition, Wonder Mike and Master Gee’s artistic credit and monetary earnings were taken by Sugar Hill Record execs, throwing the two into a 30-year struggle to reclaim their place in hip hop history. The Robinson family, owners of Sugar Hill Records, made millions from The Sugarhill Gang’s records, while the artists responsible, such as Master Gee, sold magazines door-to-door to make ends meet. Joe Robinson Jr. even illegally trademarked Wonder Mike and Master Gee’s names, as well as the name of The Sugarhill Gang, and threatened to sue show promoters that booked the rappers after their split with Sugar Hill Records. Though a bit disorganized and at times redundant, I Want My Name Back is an informative journey into hip hop history, a story that fans should definitely see. 3 of 5 stars.