When you think of the early years of hip-hop, what automatically comes to mind is a field dominated by male rappers and DJs. A female MC (Master of Ceremonies) was almost unheard of at the time, but there was one female group who stood out from the pack in rap’s infinite years, and they called themselves The Sequence, who made history as the genre’s first ever all-female hip-hop group.
The Sequence hailed from Columbia, South Carolina, which wasn’t one of the most fertile lands for hip-hop MCs at the time. The group consisted of Cheryl (The Pearl) Cook, Gwendolyn (Blondie) Chisolm, and Angie (Angie B.) Brownstone, and after hearing The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” in the radio, the girls took a chance trip to New Jersey to audition for Sylvia Robinson’s newly created Sugar Hill Records.
The trio impressed Robinson and they were signed to the label, and almost immediately, the group went into the recording studio to record fresh material. The Sequence’s debut single was 1979’s “Funk You Up,” Sugar Hill’s second ever release, which became an instant hit on the R&B charts, going to number 15.
After the success of “Funk You Up,” it was thought that the Sequence would be off and running, but for a time between 1980 and 1982, hits were becoming hard to come by. Their debut LP, 1980’s Sugarhill Presents the Sequence, failed to chart, and so did the album’s subsequent singles “Monster Jam,” featuring Spoonie Gee, and “And You Know That.”
1981 was a little better year for the Sequence, as they returned to the charts with “Funky Sound (Tear the Roof Off),” which went to number 39 on the R&B charts. But the very next year, “Simon Says” failed to chart, and the future for the group was in serious doubt.
But they bounced back with “I Don’t Need Your Love (Part One),” which went to number 40 on the R&B charts, and to the surprise of some critics who had written the trio off, their second self-titled LP charted at number 51 on the R&B album charts.
But that would be all she wrote for the Sequence, as their subsequent singles were shut out from the charts, and their third LP, 1983’s The Sequence Party, bombed. Their last single ever recorded was “Control” in 1985, and soon after that single failed, the group disbanded.