Sugar Hill Records’ All Female Rap Group, The Sequence Created the Lane for Hip-Hop Today
In the late 1970s, The Sequence hails from Columbia, SC. The first female hip hop trio signs to the Sugar Hill label owned by the late Sylvia Robinson and Joe Robinson. The group consisted of Cheryl Cook, known as “Cheryl The Pearl”, Gwendolyn Chisolm, known as “Blondie” and lead singer/rapper Angie Brown Stone, as Angie B who were all high school friends.
The trio was noticed when they bum rushed a performance by the Sugarhill Gang and sang for them and Sylvia Robinson backstage. Their most notable single was “Funk You Up” (1979), which was the first rap record released by a female group and the second single released by Sugar Hill Records.
The Sequence’s “Funk You Up” sample could be heard on Dr. Dre’s 1995 single “Keep Their Heads Ringin'”. In 1980, the group backed Spoonie Gee on the single “Monster Jam”. Also in 1981, their single “Funky Sound (Tear the Roof Off)” was a remake of the single “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” by Parliament. The groups other charting single was “I Don’t Need Your Love (Part One)”. Their two charting LPs were both titled, “The Sequence.”
I remember this song, word from word, it was one of my 12-inch records in my collection. I didn’t know that was Angie Stone when I was a kid reciting her lyrics with sass. This is the era when Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow hit the scene heavy.
Where are they now?
Subsequently, Angie Stone became a member of Vertical Hold and later a solo artist. She sang lead on their 1993 Top Twenty R&B hit “Seems You’re Much Too Busy.” Later on, she had a gold single with “There’s No More Rain in This Cloud” from her 1999 gold album Black Diamond.
In September 2011, without Angie Stone, Cheryl Cook and Gwendolyn Chisolm released a single entitled “On Our Way to the Movies”. “On Our Way to the Movies” contains a sample of The Staple Singers’ song “Let’s Do It Again”.
In December 2017, the famed Entertainment Attorney Antavius Weems represents the group for a Federal Copyright Infringement claim against Bruno Mars. The Sequence claims that for his hit song ‘Uptown Funk’, their 70’s mega-hit “Funk You Up” was used without permission.
The Sequence arrives in the time when hip-hop was real. The rap was more fun-filled with happy storytelling with disco, 70’s music, and James Brown samples. Early hip-hop started in the late ’70s with the DJ talking over their sets with people like Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa. Hip Hop is the sound, dance, art and the expression of one’s story via vocal inflections. Unfortunately, the soul of the music is not the same because the popular manufactured artist doesn’t come from that same pain and journey. I wish there was a yellow brick road to take me back to the place where hip-hop originates.
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