The Sugarhill Gang

Jump on It!

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The longtime reissue label Rhino Records made a transition from faithful historian to active participant in the world of modern music with Jump on It!, the first new album by the Sugarhill Gang in more than 15 years. Combining their recent emphasis on old-school rap and children's records, label executives brought Big Bank Hank, Master G, and Wonder Mike back together to record an album of updated Schoolhouse Rock-type raps. Each of the ten songs are message tracks, beginning with the title track, a shout-out to kids that they're never too young to start reaching for their dreams. Other tracks focus on either specific educational subjects ("ABC's," "The Vowels," "Last Day of School") or on subjects more generally beneficial for kids' well-being ("Fireworks," "Sugar Hill Groove," "My Little Playmate"). As fun and educational as Jump on It! is for kids, though, this album is a non-starter for hip-hop fans. The trio's raps haven't progressed beyond (and may have even fallen back from) "Rapper's Delight," and from the sounds of it, Jump on It! was recorded in much the same way as all the classic material from Sugar Hill Records -- the music credits go to the Sugar Hill House Band, though individual members aren't listed. It's a much better tack than trying to update the Sugarhill Gang for the late-'90s hip-hop world, but this children's album doesn't make any kind of transition to adult audiences.

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