First Ė The Story of The Sequence
- Part 1 with Blondy. By JayQuan Summer 2007
So who were the
first female Emcees? Those who donít know any better will say Salt N
Pepa or Roxanne Shanteí. Those who know better will tell you that
itís my girl Sha Rock of the Funky 4 + 1. As we do these stories one
thing is clear; EVERYONE claims to be the first to do something.
Unfortunately we will never know in most instances. But as far as
RECORDED Hip Hop goes Cheryl The Pearl, Blondy and Angie B (now Angie
Stone) take the title. It is said that Tanya Wiley (also known as Sweet
T) recorded her song even before Rappers Delight, but again we may never
really know. We do know that the Sequence recorded the second single for
Sugar hill records (the first being Sugar hill Gangs Rappers Delight),
and they are the first recorded Emcees from the South waaay before it
was called dirty!! It is my honor to tell the story of The Sequence !!
How did the Sequence get together, and how did you get discovered?
In high school we all hung together. Cheryl and Angie played a lot of
sports. I ran track, but they played basketball and everything. We all
were cheerleaders. We decided to form a group, and it was originally
Angie, Cheryl and a girl named Beverly. We all hung together, and
Beverly could never make rehearsal, so they asked me to take her place.
Delight had just come out, and it was October 20th which is
my birthday. The Sugar hill
Gang was coming to Colombia South Carolina, where we are from. They were
playing at the Township auditorium, and we knew we had to get there to
show them that we could sing and rap as well as they could. We were
pretty popular from playing at the local roller skating rink. That
evening there were supposed to be some tickets left for us at will call,
but they werenít there. We were waiting around; trying to get in and
this light skinned guy started flirting with Angie saying that he liked
dark skinned girls. Angie said she didnít have a ticket to get in, and
he offered to get her in. She said only if you can get my girls in too.
got us all in, and we were telling him how we could rap & sing
better than the Gang. He got us back stage and there was this lady back
there who told us to do our thing. We werenít shy at all as far as
performing so we had no problem. We started singing and she said
thatís nice. We did another song called Get It Together, and she said
thatís nice again. Angie said we forgot to do Funk You Up, so the lady
said come on back and do Funk You Up. We did Funk You Up and she said
thatís it im gonna make you girls stars! So of course that was Sylvia
that night she had Doug Wimbish and Skip Mc Donald put a bass line to it
right in the dressing room as we sang it.
I was working as a manager at this gas station / store called
Super Saver. I got a call from someone who asked for Blondie. It was
Sylvia. See unlike the Gang Sylvia didnít create us. We made the name
Sequence, and I was Blondy since 9th grade, and Angie and
Cheryl had their names as well. Anyway she asked were we ready to cut
the record, and I said yes!! So she told us to fly up that week end. We
flew up and cut Funk You Up, and it went gold in 3 weeks!! Cheryl made
up that hook for Funk You Up.
Ok let me back up. I know you had the singing hook for Funk You Up
already done. But you had rhymes to it as well before you even
auditioned back stage that night?
Yes, thatís why we were able to do it in one take. We had done it at
talent shows, pageants etc.
Ok so you guys were from the south just like me, wasnít the first rap
record that you heard Rappers Delight?
No, we had heard King Tim the 3rd by Fatback. We said
thatís easy, and when we heard Rappers Delight we said we can do that.
We were already writing songs, songs were easy. After we heard those two
songs we developed characters for our selves. My mother always wore her
hair blonde, and I copied her from an early age. Blondie is the opposite
of how I really am; itís just a character that I turn into when I get
on stage. I talked a lot of noise, and was the frisky one; Cheryl was
the sexy one with the soft voice, and the bedroom eyes. Angie was the
fearless funky one.
Were you still in high school when you got discovered?
Me & Cheryl had graduated. Angie was a senior in high school. She is
the baby of the group. She stopped school to sign with Sugar hill.
Did you grow up together, or just meet in junior or high school.
We grew up together in Saxon homes, the projects. Me & Angie sung
together in church since our pre teen days. We had a dance group called
Itís interesting that you say that you are totally different from the
Blondie character. I remember you saying that you get more sex than a
catch chase mice. You did come off like the frisky one.
I am shy and stand offish, and im even embarrassed to say some of that
stuff on stage today.
How did your parents feel about you signing recording contracts?
My mother didnít even see me off at the airport. My mother was very
strict and didnít like it at all. I was the oldest, but I didnít
learn many things until we went to Jersey and started recording. Mr.
& Mrs. Robinson told us that they would be like our surrogate
parents , and what to look out for as far as people trying to give us
drugs , and guys approaching us. It was an overnight thing for us, we
didnít know anything.
So you all made the second recording on the Sugar hill label right?
Yeah they used to call us the Sugar hill girls, and they called the gang the Sugar hill guys.
Does the name Sequence have any meaning or significance?
Yes, everything about us runs in a Sequence.
Im 5ft 2 Angie is 5 3 and Cheryl is 5ft 4.
On Oct 20 I turned 20, On Nov 19 Cheryl turned 19 and on Dec 18
Angie turned 18. We are like A, B & C. Also we loved the sequin
Did you write your own rhymes or did you have ghostwriters?
We wrote all of our own raps. Cheryl did a lot of writing for the Sugar
hill Gang. She was always in the studio writing. Unless we redid
something like Tear The Roof Off or Cold Sweat we wrote our own stuff.
Even the r&b songs.
Oh yes, everything. We wrote for one another, but that was it.
I always noticed that when Sylvia would put out a full length lp on a
group like The Treacherous 3 , Crash Crew or even the Sugar hill Gang it
was mostly older 12Ē records compiled almost like a greatest hits
record. The most exciting thing about many of those lps was getting to
see what the rappers looked like for the first time. But the Sequence
had 3 full length lps with new material. Thatís even more than the
Furious 5 & Sugar hill Gang. The Furious had the Message lp , and
then the one after they split. Sugar hill Gang had their debut, 8th
Wonder and Liviní In The Fast Lane, but the 8th Wonder lp
was 60% or more old material.
Thatís right. We were just passionate about singing and writing. We
did a lot of singles too. Many of our songs were already written before
we even went to Jersey.
How were those tours, and were you treated differently being an all
female group from the south?
It was fun. They looked out for us like sisters. It took awhile though.
They called us country bumpkins whenever they saw us. They gave us a
hard time because we didnít know a lot of stuff being from the south,
and having strict parents. I remember Sylvia saying ďI wish you girls
could have gotten here last week and joined the gang in EuropeĒ. Angie
said "can we catch the bus over there and meet them"? Sylvia said ďoh
baby the bus donít go to EuropeĒ.
we went to Canada, I asked the waiter at a restaurant for grits.
I was talking to Keith Le Blanc and Ed Fletcher (Duke Bootee) about that
big shoot out on the Sugar Hill tour at the Armory. They say that the
fighting started as soon as yíall went into a slow jam.
No! We were singiní Funky Sound (Tear The Roof Off). As soon as we
got to the part that says ďwhat ya want us to do with the funk sing
fire it upĒ thatís when it happened.
It was the scariest thing because there were so many people and
it was so crowded and you didnít know where to run. People were
tryingí to get in our dressing room and we wouldnít open the door.
From what I heard someone in the crowd got into an argument, and
someone pushed someone, and it went from there. Thatís one reason I
donít go to concerts. Unless I have a backstage pass or im performing
I donít go.
A lot of the original Bronx
Emcees donít like the Sugar hill Gang, and feel like they were put
together and more of a novelty act. Did you ever get any of that, being
that your label mates were many times original Bronx Emcees?
In the beginning they teased us about not knowing much, and being from
the South. They teased our southern accent, but thatís what Sylvia
liked about us. Even after we had been with the company for awhile she
would send us back home because she said we were losing our southern
accents. But they accepted us after awhile, and they protected us
because in the beginning the only females on the label were us and Sha
Rock of the Funky 4.
Wonder Mike told me that he got tired of hearing rap after awhile
because every night all you heard was say ho , and all those things over
and over. He said that he started going to malls and hanging out until
it was show time.
Well he probably said that because we used to burn them out so bad that
they couldnít go on stage! After we left the stage we made it so hot
for the Gang. Even recently we did a show with some of the Furious 5,
Dana Dane and some more acts. Mel said that we used to ho the crowd to
death!! He said that we asked the crowd to say ho so much that no one
could use the word after we performed.
I read some where, I think it was Jet magazine that Cowboy was the first
one to say throw your hands in the air and wave Ďem like you just
donít care. I would like to correct that. I came up with that. If you
listen to Funk You Up, I even said it on that.
ďWave ya hands in the air like you just donít care, like
Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, my main man Yogi Bear. That was recorded
in 1979. We met Sylvia in October of í79, and we recorded that song in
November. Flash & them werenít even out yet, and we hadnít heard
of them, or the Crash Crew, Funky 4 or any of Ďem. The song was
written when we were still down south.
You are really the first recorded rap group from the south.
Yes!! When they do all these Hip Hop honors and things they never
mention us as the first female rappers. Yo Yo was on the show with us
that I mentioned earlier, and she thanked us for opening the door for
female rappers. We really did open the door for the Queen Latifahís
and Salt N Pepas and we get no recognition. They just sweep us under the
rug. Some people say that we arenít recognized because they really
started paying attention to rap when it started to go platinum. That may
be true, but for a record to go gold in 3 weeks in 1979 when itís a
new music thatís to be honored too.
But I think that they never expected 3 girls from the south to
be the first. Chuck D was promoting his group Crew Grrl Order in
Atlanta, and he didnít know that I was there. They were saying that
the first females in rap were Salt N Pepa. One of the girls that I was
with said no he needs to correct that. So she told Chuck, and he
apologized and brought me on stage. I said people are just so used to
saying that Salt N Pepa were first that itís just automatic. I have
learned to just accept it; I know what we did & who we are. But
Cheryl gets real upset over it.
You had the privilege of being very close to 2 of my favorite early rap
groups (Sugar Hill Gang and Furious 5). What are the differences in
these 2 groups from your perspective?
Well Flash & the Furious 5 were more like street boys. Sugar Hill
Gang was like gentlemen. On tours Sylvia had to put them in separate
hotels because the Furious 5 would tear up everything!! They are just
different breeds. Hank is the craziest one out of the Gang, but is still
is a gentleman. Wonder Mike & Gee will always hold the door for you,
and be very polite, I still love both groups, they were like my
brothers, but thatís just what it is.
How much creative control did you have over your material?
Sylvia let us do what we wanted. She might suggest that we say something
a certain way or whatever, but that was it. She never wrote anything,
even though she gets writers credit. Even for Funk You Up. One thing
that I love about her is that she can call a hit. She has a great ear
for a hit. She was always like a mother to us. We love her as a person,
but the business is something different.
Do you feel like you were properly compensated for your recordings?
We thought so back then. But when someone gives you a check for 10,000
dollars and youíre still in your teens you think its ok.
So you may have gotten 10,000, but could have been owed 50,000 or more.
Right. When we were having problems paying our rent we knew that
something just wasnít right. And we had been hearing different things
from our label mates, as far as money was concerned. We said that we
werenít doing anything else on the label, and thatís when we started
going our separate ways.
That must have been about í85 because I have a record by yíall
called Funk It Up í85.
Yes it was about that time. That was the last record we did with them.
Angie was doing a lot of back up, Cheryl went back home with her family,
and I moved back to Texas.
Cheryl did a lot of writing for that label right?
Yes and a lot of people donít know that we were also the West Street
Mob. She never wrote for the Funky 4 or Furious 5, Crash Crew or any of
them. Mostly the Gang and West Street Mob. Also other artists that may
have made a song or 2 on the label.
On Dance Make Your Body Move by West Street Mob is that you all doing
the female vocals?
Yes. Thatís Cheryl and Angie on that.
Whose idea was it to do Rappers Reprise with the Sugar Hill Gang, and
were you in the studio at the same time?
I think that it was Sylviaís idea. We were all together in the studio,
and everyone wrote their own parts.
Wonder Mike told me that they absolutely hated that song, and it got to
a point that refused to perform it.
I didnít care for it either. It was just silly. But Sylvia wanted us
to do it, and we did what she told us, she was momma Sylvia.
What do you think your biggest selling record was according to Sugar
They would probably say Funk You Up.
Funky Sound probably did well too.
Yeah as well as Cold Sweat. Much of our money came from overseas, and
Cold Sweat was big over seas. I was touring with Angie a few years back,
because I was her road manager for a few years, and people over seas
still had Sequence records for us to sign.
Did you like Monster Jam with Spoonie Gee?
I love that record. It probably sold well too, but we would never know.
When people sample your stuff are you getting paid?
No. When I was Angieís road manager I dealt with different sampling
stuff. I just found out it 2002 about mechanical royalties. We werenít
getting paid any of it. I was managing the Sugar hill offices with Joe
Robinson back in the 90s and found out a lot of stuff.
How was it touring with groups like Parliament and Cameo?
We loved those shows. One of our best was opening for the Ojays and the
Did they seem to respect what you were doing?
Oh yes. We used to hang out and talk in each others dressing rooms. We
did something with Chaka Khan, and she acted a lil funky until Angie
told her about her self.
How do you and Angie Stone get along today? Are you on speaking terms?
I havenít talked to her since I resigned in 2003. I just felt like I
wasnít growing. You know how you can see someone else growing, but you
are in the same place? I was doing some writing with her, but it never
went any where. We were trying to start a management company as well,
but I wanted to move back home, and she wanted to stay up north.
What are you up to these days?
I have a management company called All Girls Entertainment. I am
managing a group called All Girls with ages ranging from 23 to 25 years
of age. I am trying to get one of their songs on a sound track as we
speak. I am also a shareholder in a new magazine called Silk. Itís an
upscale menís magazine thatís in 7 or so states. Me & Cheryl
just did a song called going to the movies. We are still called
Sequence, and we are rapping and singing on it. Itís on Black Bottom
records which is Cherylís label.
JQ: Thanks for your time Blondy , its been an honor.
© 2007 JayQuan Dot Com. As told to JayQuan Summer 2007. No part may be reproduced in part or in whole without authors consent.