SugarHill Recording Studios: Third Ward landmark turns 80 in 2021

SugarHill Studios co-owner Ryan Youngblood runs what is essentially a state-of-the-art tube factory.

HOUSTON — So many musical artists have scored hits at SugarHill Studios in the Third Ward. SugarHill is the oldest continuously operating studio in the country.

SugarHill Studios co-owner Ryan Youngblood runs what is essentially a state-of-the-art tube factory.

Lil Wayne is one of the regulars here.

“He’s been recording here since he was at U of H (University of Houston),” Youngblood said.

But SugarHill is more than just a studio, it’s a living, breathing museum when you realize the legends who recorded here go back to the roots of rock and roll.

There’s Houston blues legend, Lightnin’ Hopkins.

“In the ’40s, that’s where he made most of his records, he came to play dice,” Youngblood said.

Before Willie Nelson became big he recorded a few songs here. Even the Rolling Stones used to come here.

Then there’s all the local talent now making hits like Travis Scott, Slim Thug and, of course, Beyoncé knows this studio very well.

“Beyoncé, she did her first solo record here and the Destiny Child stuff, written on the wall,” Youngblood said.

SugarHill has been a part of a lot of history and numerous Grammy Award nominations and wins.

“Houston has played a huge role in the music industry, in the South in general, and that’s something we should be grateful for and SugarHill has played a key role,” Youngblood said.

SugarHill may be 80 years old, but they hope that’s just the beginning.