One of the first hip-hop songs was ghostwritten, or in this situation stolen. When Henry “Big Bank Hank” Jackson was discovered by Sylvia Robinson (co-founder of Sugar Hill Records), he was managing the Mighty Force (which included Grandmaster Caz, who at the time went by his moniker Casanova Fly.)
Sylvia Robinson came in a New Jersey pizza shop where Big Bank Hank was working and heard him rapping Grandmaster Caz’s rhymes, she liked what she heard thinking it was Big Bank Hank’s song and signed him to Sugar Hill Records. A week later, Big Bank Hank, Wonder Mike and Master Gee recorded 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight.”
Big Bank Hank’s lyrics on Rapper’s Delight was taken from Grandmaster Caz’s rhyme notebook, he even kept the line which referred to Grandmaster Caz’s former moniker Casanova Fly.
“Check it out, I’m the c-a-s-an-the-o-v-a
And the rest is f-l-y”
Big Bank Hank also ironically rapped the lines..
“But whatever ya do in your lifetime
Ya never let a MC steal your rhyme”
At the time, Hip Hop wasn’t in the music business yet so Grandmaster Caz couldn’t take legal actions. In 2000, Caz released a song called “MC Delight.” where he addressed the situation. Big Bank Hank passed away on November 11, 2014 due to cancer and Grandmaster Caz has made peace with him long before he died.