In the 1970s, a female rap group named The Sequence emerged in Columbia and broke into the big leagues. Now, they're being recognized as "the first ladies of hip-hop" by Love, Peace and Hip-Hop, a local festival that celebrates the genre.
The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. April 13 at Tapp's Art Center, 1644 Main St., Columbia, where Mayor Steve Benjamin will be recognizing the girl group for their contributions to the culture. There will be DJs present and a group doing a live tribute version of a song by The Sequence as well.
Angela “Angie B” Stone, Cheryl “The Pearl” Cook and Gwendolyn “Blondy” Chisolm were pioneers of the genre in a sleepy Southern city before rap was on the map. They have since been recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as the first female hip-hop group to release a record.
Their claim to fame doesn't just come from being first but from their talent, which has been sampled or invoked by artists including Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Flavor Flav, En Vogue, De La Soul and more over the years.
The story begins backstage at a Sugarhill Gang concert. The group was signed to Sugar Hill Records after being whisked on a plane to New York City and thrown into the studio. From there, they were immersed in the culture, dropping hit track "Funk You Up" in 1979.
The annual Love, Peace and Hip-Hop festival features performances by national artists, local emcees and elements of hip-hop culture such as graffiti, b-boys and DJs, drawing around 15,000 fans to Columbia’s downtown.
Organizer Fat Rat Da Czar wanted to celebrate The Sequence's legacy and focus on women empowerment within the hip-hop genre through this event.
“Without a doubt, The Sequence pioneered women in hip-hop music, and the fact that they are natives of Columbia cements our city’s place in hip-hop history,” says Czar. “Artists such as myself have built careers on the foundation they laid, and if we expect The Sequence to get the worldwide recognition they deserve, it has to begin with us.”
Tickets for the Love, Peace and Hip-Hop honors for The Sequence are $20 and available at squareup.com/store/friends-of-the-tapps-arts-center/cart/summary. For more information, visit tappsartscenter.com.