Englewood Makes History

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  • Babatunde Olatunji.jpg

    Babatunde Olatunji was a Nigerian Drummer. His first album was "Drums of Passion" released in 1959. He founded the Center for African Culture in Harlem in the late 1960s. He also worked with other famous musicians and groups, such as the Grateful Dead. He visited Englewood and taught African music and dances to students there. Olatunji was also a Civil Rights Activist. 

    His wife's name was Amy. He had four children.
  • Curtis Brown.jpg

    Curtis "Grandmaster Caz" Brown is an American hip-hop and rap artist. He is also a songwriter and DJ. He was a member of the group The Cold Crush Brothers from 1979 to the mid-1980s. Brown also went under the name "Casanova Fly" as he formed one of the first DJ crews, "Might Force." He was the first rapper to perform both record and vocal duties. 

    He is also an uncredited artist for The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight." Henry Lee Jackson had been Caz's manager. Jackson had asked Brown for lyrics to audition with for Sylvia Robinson, as he had never rapped before. Brown agreed but was never credited afterward for the lyrics used. In 2002, Brown released a parody "MC Delight" to tell his side.
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  • Guy Anthony O'Brien.jpg

    Guy Anthony "Master Gee" O'Brien is a hip-hop artist and member of the Sugarhill Gang.
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  • Sylvia Robinson.jpg

    Slyvia Vanderpool Robinson was a singer and record producer. She had two R&B chart toppers. She released her single "Love is Strange" in 1957 with her then-boyfriend Mickey Baker. They performed on stage as "Mickey & Sylvia."  They split in 1962. In 1973, she did a solo single, "Pillow Talk." She is also credited with producing two hits in hip-hop, "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang in 1979 and "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in 1982. She gained the monkier "Mother of Hip-Hop" due to this. 

    In 1966 Robinson moved to New Jersey and created All Platinum Records with her husband, Joseph Robinson Sr., whom she married in 1959. It was renamed Sugar Hill Records in 1979. This was due to financial troubles and along with her son scouted the three artists who would become the Sugarhill Gang. She also owned two bars, "Joey's Place" and "Blue Morocco." 

    Robinson divorced her husband in May of 1959. She had three sons, Joseph "Joey", Leland, and Rhondo "Scutchie."

    She passed away due to congestive heart failure.
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  • Big Bank Hank.jpg

    Henry Lee "Big Bank Hank" Jackson was a hip-hop artist and member of The Sugarhill Gang.

    He traveled to Englewood and worked as the Cripsy Cut pizza shop manager. He had an impromptu audition for Sylvia Robinson with the other future members of the group.

    He lived in Tenafly, NJ. His wife was Valerie Jackson. He had three children, Alea, Thomas, and Keshah. 

    He passed away at Englewood Hosptial due to cancer.
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  • Michael Anthony Wright.png

    Micheal Anthony "Wonder Mike" Wright is a hip-hop artist and member of the Sugarhill Gang.
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  • Screenshot 2024-03-22 at 6.35.46 PM.png

    Frederick Lee Drakeford is a musician and member of "Today", an American R&B vocal group created in 1988.
  • Screenshot 2024-03-22 at 6.34.17 PM.png

    Kwamé Holland is an American rapper and record producer.

    He was born on March 28, 1973, in Elmhurst, New York, and lived in Queens. He released his first album, Kwamé the Boy Genius: Featuring a New Beginning at age 16 in 1989 with Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor. The music video and Kwamé became known for their polka-dot motif. He released 3 more albums in the early 90s, but the last two were less popular.

    In 2000, he began work as a record producer, occasionally working under the name "K-1 Million." He has produced for LL Cool J, Mary J. Blige, Keyshia Cole, Missy Elliott, and Christina Aguilera. He co-produced Llyod Banks' song "On Fire" with Eminem. He released one more album, instrumental this time, in 2012. 

    Holland has written scores for multiple film and television projects including Drumline, Step Up 1 & 2, Freedom Writers, Coach Carter, and Fantastic Four.

    He is a member of Alumni, a hip-hop group. He also formed "Make Noise Records." He has sold over 30 million records.
  • Screenshot 2024-03-22 at 6.31.54 PM.png

    David "Redhead" Guppy is an American musician and member of the hip-hop and new jack swing group "Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I." The group was in existence from 1988 to 1993. 

    The group is known for their debut single "Do the Right Thing." It released its second and last album in 1991 recorded at HIllside Studios in Englewood. 

    Guppy formed a new group named Private Investigators in 1993 and released one album.
  • John Travolta.jpg

    John Joseph Travolta is an American actor and singer. Some of his more famous works are Carrie (1976), Grease (1978), Urban Cowboy (1980), and Blow Out (1981). He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his roles in Saturday Night Fever (1977) and Pulp Fiction (1994).

    Travolta was born in Englewood to Salvatore "Sam" and Helen Cecilia Burke Travolta. He was one of six children. His siblings were Ellen, Margaret, Anne, Sam, and Joey. They all pursued careers in entertainment. He married Kelly Preston in 1991. He had three children, Jett, Ella Bleu, and Benjamin
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