Poor Wonder Mike. The Sugarhill Gang member, now 65, was hospitalized in January 2022 with a serious condition that left him bed-ridden for three months. As Wonder Mike explains to AllHipHop, he’d been diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition that affects the stomach muscles and prevents proper stomach emptying. Simply put, he was unable to digest food properly. At one point, he couldn’t walk. He needed a wheelchair, walker or cane just to get around. He also developed peripheral neuropathy in his hands. No so wondrous.
“When I was in hospital, I asked for a bass,” he says. “He brought it and I said, ‘Yeah! Finally.’ But I couldn’t play. My fingers just stumbled over each other.”
Thankfully, all that’s behind him now, and Mike has been on the road to recovery. He adds, “I can walk without anything now. It ain’t as smooth as it used to be, but I’m moving [laughs].”
Clearly in better spirits, Wonder Mike is looking forward to celebrating Hip Hop’s 50th birthday, which lands on August 11 of this year. The good news just so happens to coincide with another anniversary. On Thursday (January 5), The Sugarhill Gang’s seminal single, “Rapper’s Delight,” hit a new milestone. On the same day in 1980, the song became the first rap single to crack the Billboard Hot 100, landing at No. 37. It’s a day he’ll never forget.
“We were in Europe,” he remembers. “I flipped out. I didn’t know anything about charts, I just knew I loved music all my life.”
“Rapper’s Delight” was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014 and preserved in the Library of Congress in 2011. It’s often cited as one of the Best Hip Hop Songs of All Time. Revisit it below and send Wonder Mike some love while you’re at it.