He has been credited with originating the term hip hop and some of the themes in his music were precursors of gangsta rap.
Jackson was born in Harlem, New York City, receiving his ‘Spoonie‘ nickname as a child because the spoon was the only utensil that he used to eat with.
His mother died when he was twelve years old, and he went to live with his uncle, the record producer Bobby Robinson, in whose apartment he began to practice rapping.
His first recording came about after Peter Brown visited Robinson’s record store and mentioned that he was looking to make a rap record.
Spoonie’s name was suggested, and he recorded “Spoonin’ Rap“, which was released on Brown’s Sound Of New York, USA imprint, featuring a lyric that included jailhouse references that would later become common in Gangsta rap, and with echo applied to vocals in a similar way to many Jamaican deejay records.
Spoonie Gee has been described as “the original gangster rapper“.
He then recorded for Robinson’s Enjoy! Records, his first release for the label being the similarly minimalistic “Love Rap” (on which he was accompanied on Congas by his brother Pooche Costello), issued on the B-side of the Treacherous Three’s “New Rap Language” (on which he also featured), leading to his early nickname of ‘The Love Rapper’.
Jackson was a founding member of the Treacherous Three, along with L.A. Sunshine and Kool Moe Dee.
The group was named Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous Three when Jackson returned for a period before going solo.
He left Enjoy! and moved to Sugarhill Records, where he enjoyed further hits with “Spoonie’s Back” and the collaboration with The Sequence on “Monster Jam“.
He moved on again to Aaron Fuchs’ Tuff City label, on which the majority of his later output was issued, including “That’s My Style“, on which he attacked Schoolly D for copying his style.
By the mid-1980s, he was also working in a rehabilitation centre for people with learning disabilities.
His career took off once again in 1987 with his debut album, The Godfather of Rap, produced by Marley Marl and Teddy Riley, and issued on the Tuff City label.
His career has since been hampered by several spells in prison.
In the mid-1990s a compilation of his work, Godfather of Hip Hop, was issued on the Ol’ Skool Flava label, In the mid-2000s he returned with a new EP, The Boss is Back.
In 2008, “Love Rap” was ranked number 65 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.
Spoonie Gee has been credited with inventing the term “hip hop“, as well as originating the phrase “yes, yes, y’all” which has become a rap trope.
Posted on April 25, 2013, in Bios and tagged 1970s, gabriel jackson, gangster, kool moe dee, marley marl, spoonie, spoonie gee, sugarhill records, teddy riley, that's my style, the godfather of rap, the original gangster rapper, tuff city label. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.